Earlier this year, Martin Scorsese lamented the heartbreaking fact that he’s running out of time to tell stories a la Akira Kurosawa. Hence why he’s so intent on making every shot count. And as you’ll see for yourself in this cracking full-length Killers of the Flower Moon trailer, the aging auteur still has plenty of movie magic left in his well-worn bag of tricks.
Where the initial teaser hinted at something incredibly tense, bordering on the uncomfortably self-serious, the latest preview of the much-hyped historical drama presents something that’s more tonally… Scorsese. Like a three-way nexus point between Gangs of New York, The Departed, and The Irishman (in the best possible sense).
Based on the bestselling non-fiction book by journalist David Grann — as well as the real-life historical events said book explores — this story has been ripe for adaptation long before Scorsese set his Academy Award-winning sights on it. For reference, screen rights alone were subject to a $5 million bidding war.
In the 1920s, Native Americans from the Osage tribe became some of the richest people in the world after large oil deposits were discovered beneath their reservation. Not long after, as these things tend to play out, several of them were murdered one by one. Officially, the body count reached at least 20. But estimates place the actual figure somewhere in the hundreds.
Told through the “improbable romance” of Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), Killers of the Flower Moon explores what has since been acknowledged as “one of the highest-profile serial killings” ever witnessed by America during the 20th century; as well as when “real love crosses paths with unspeakable betrayal.” It also explores the ensuing FBI investigation helmed by future agency director J. Edgar Hoover and former Texas Ranger Tom White (Jesse Plemons) — the latter role originally designated to DiCaprio before he requested a change in script.
The cast has also welcomed the likes of the other longtime Scorsese collaborator Robert De Niro as William Hale, a powerful local rancher and uncle to DiCaprio’s Ernest who becomes entangled in the murders, Brendan Fraser as W.S. Hamilton, John Lithgow as Prosecutor Leaward, and for some reason, legendary rocker Jack White.
Martin Scorsese himself has adapted the screenplay alongside veteran Hollywood scribe Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Munich, A Star Is Born, Dune) in addition to taking a seat in the director’s chair; with the cinematography accomplished by Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain, The Wolf of Wall Street, Silence, The Irishman).
Killers of the Flower Moon has set a theatrical release date for October 19th, 2023 before eventually making its way to Apple TV+ globally — check out the full-length trailer above.