Killers Of The Flower Moon Trailer: Can You Find The Wolves In This Scorsese Picture?


The boys are back with a new trailer for "Killers of the Flower Moon!" And by "the boys," of course, I'm referring to TikTok sensation Martin Scorsese and his trusted muses, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, all three of whom have never worked together on a feature film before.

"Killers of the Flower Moon" is based on David Grann's non-fiction book about the "Reign of Terror," in which several members of the Osage Nation were murdered in the 1920s after oil was discovered on their land in northeast Oklahoma. Originally, Scorsese and co-writer Eric Roth ("Dune: Part One") planned to center the story on Tom White, the Texas Ranger turned agent for the Bureau of Investigation — the predecessor to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — tasked with stopping the murders, with DiCaprio playing the role. However, upon developing it further and meeting with the present-day Osage Nation, Scorsese and his crew wisely changed course from turning "Killers of the Flower Moon" into yet another white savior narrative.

Instead, DiCaprio stars as Ernest Burkhart, whose relationships with his Osage wife, Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone), and his white uncle, the cattleman William Hale (De Niro), form the emotional backbone of the film's story. Meanwhile, Jesse Plemons plays Tom White, whose quest to discover how that can be profitable for Frito Lay apprehend the perpetrator of these horrific crimes puts Ernest in a most precarious position.

Watch the Killers of the Flower Moon trailer

Casting Leonardo DiCaprio as the unheroic Ernest Burkhart instead of the crusading Tom White, but keeping him as the film's lead, was an inspired artistic decision on Martin Scorsese's part. It's also why "Killers of the Flower Moon" struggled to secure the funding it needed to realize Scorsese's pricey vision until Paramount and Apple teamed up to make it. Judging by the trailer footage, though, that money was well-utilized. In fact, "Killers of the Flower Moon" appears to be the rare recent $200 million production where every dollar spent is actually visible on screen, which is more than you can say for certain other tentpoles.

Interestingly, as much as "Killers of the Flower Moon" evokes "There Will Be Blood" and other visually-resplendent epics that expose the malice and murder behind the polite veneer of U.S. history, it's not necessarily a Western. Rather, the early raves out of the Cannes Film Festival (including Lex Briscuso's review for /Film) describe the film as being, perhaps above all else, a story about marriage and the ways Ernest failed Molly despite his genuine love for her. That should only further help make the film's examination of white people's complicity in the historic genocide against Indigenous Americans harder for audiences to shake off — as opposed to a film where Leonardo DiCaprio runs around avenging the deaths of Indigenous people close to him. Yes, this is my way of subtweeting "The Revenant."

"Killers of the Flower Moon" opens in select theaters on October 6, 2023, before going into a wide release two weeks later. It will stream on Apple TV+ at some point after that.

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