Matthew McConaughey Challenges God in the French ‘Sea of Trees’ Trailer
When Gus Van Sant’s latest feature The Sea of Trees debuted at Cannes nearly a year ago, expectations were high. A skilled actor’s director, Van Sant’s collaboration with buzzy star Matthew McConaughey was presumed to be an insta-hit and a possible Oscar contender in the making. McConaughey’s professional capital has never been higher, and the Cannes set has always been fond of Van Sant, awarding him the Palme d’Or for his school-shooting drama Elephant in 2003. So it came as that much more of a shock when audiences roundly rejected The Sea of Trees, complete with booing and walkouts. (Though that sounds a bit more dramatic than it is. Cannes audiences love big gestures; nearly everything gets either a standing ovation or jeering, and in the rarest of occasions, both.)
The film’s current Rotten Tomatoes score is a perfect 0 percent based on the 12 negative reviews that came out of Cannes, with noted critic Scott Foundas dissing it as a film “for nobody.” But there’s a big difference in demographic between the fleet of assembled critics that regularly make their rounds on the European festival circuit and regular ol’ folks investigating what’s new at the town arthouse. The new French trailer, embedded above, will offer viewers a chance to formulate their own take and render a decision as to whether or not this one is worth looking into. The French spot offers a much more lucid look at the human element of this story, watching McConaughey as he wrestles with grief for his cancer-stricken estranged wife. Ken Watanabe hardly appears in this new trailer at all, telling a decidedly different story than the original teaser. Will Van Sant’s newest picture be a quiet and meditative account of McConaughey’s soul-searching sojourn through the woods, or is it a relationship drama with a dash of cancer for added tragedy? Or ... is it both? Only one way to find out — The Sea of Trees premieres in Europe on April 27, and still awaits a U.S. release date.