At least Arthur Brennan didn’t want sushi, an AKB48 concert or a night out on the town with a maiko (trainee geisha) on his arm. As Japan’s ranking soars on the international travelers’ destination lists, the more cliched their itineraries seem to get. But Matthew McConaughey’s Brennan of Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees,” has an entirely different mission in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Booking a one-way ticket out of Massachusetts and carrying nothing but a bottle of pills, Arthur is obsessed by a single facet of Japan: Aokigahara — a notoriously dense forest at the foot of Mount Fuji. A few days earlier, he had googled “the perfect place to die,” and “Aokigahara” blinked at him from his screen. As he’s told later, “People come from all over the world to die here.” Obviously this is not a movie that the tourist board will be proud of.

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