Martin Scorsese has been working on adapting Killers of the Flower Moon since before the book was even published and before he even began working on The Irishman. It’s been a long time coming, but the first teaser for the acclaimed director’s next film is here and it already looks like one of the best things you’ll watch this decade. The Killers of the Flower Moon teaser trailer asks us to find the wolves, though none to subtly gives us an answer: It’s white people.
Based on the nonfiction book of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon tells yet another dark part of America’s history. In the 1920s the Osage Nation was the wealthiest nation on Earth per capita thanks to the discovery of plentiful amounts of oil under the land that the U.S. government had given them thinking it to be mostly worthless. Once discovered, the government began setting up racist laws that had white men come and “help” the Osage manage their money, leading to a long and horrifying series of murders and poisonings of members of the Osage tribe in order for their land and wealth to transfer over to the already wealthy whites.
The book focuses on the FBI agents who were sent to solve and stop these murders, including the lead investigator Tom White, played by Jesse Plemons in the movie. It functioned as a sort of real-life whodunit with a startling revelation at the end. However, as the trailer shows the movie is taking a less-white savior slant and pivoting to look at the personal and emotional side of this as Leonardo DiCaprio plays Ernest Burkhart, a man who marries, falls in love with, and has children with the Osage Molly Burkhart (Lily Gladstone) all as part of a scheme put together by his uncle, William Hale (Robert DeNiro), to control her family’s land rights.
The story alone would be enticing enough to make a fantastic film of any sort, but given that its Scorsese, DiCaprio, and DeNiro all working together on a project they’ve been invested in for several years, this should be something truly special. And it’s most likely why Apple hurled money at the project after Paramount dropped the film thanks to Scorsese switching the focus of the movie from White to Ernest and Molly.
Killers of the Flower Moon will premiere in select theaters on October 6, 2023, before expanding on October 20, 2023, and then streaming globally on Apple TV+.