One film we are very excited for around LaineyGossip HQ is Killers of the Flower Moon, which was a notable absence during the film fest trifecta of Venice, Telluride, and TIFF. After premiering at Cannes in May, Flower Moon’s next stop is the BFI London Film Festival in October, a couple weeks ahead of its October 20 release date. But now that we are a mere five weeks out from the wide release of the film, we have one last trailer to whet our appetites.
This trailer is full of pull quotes about Flower Moon being Martin Scorsese’s best film in decades, about Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance, and a shoutout to Lily Gladstone, who many people cited during Cannes as giving the stand-out performance of the film. (In this house, we love and support Lily Gladstone!) This is obviously trying to frame Flower Moon as a sort of can’t-miss cinematic experience like Oppenheimer, which isn’t the worst idea, but this is actually the least interesting of the two trailers we’ve already seen.
The first two trailers were more about vibes, with Scorsese’s big visuals combined with excellent music and a provocative marketing approach of highlighting that this is a true story, that DiCaprio is not a romantic hero this time. This trailer, though, is more conventional, laying out the plot and yeah, focusing on DiCaprio as a conflicted, maybe even reluctant, co-conspirator. You were doing better when you were blatantly taking sides with the Osage, trailer editors! Also, the music in this trailer is way more generic.
I wonder if, having committed to a wide release instead of slow-rolling a limited expansion as many prestige dramas do during awards season, if distributors Apple and Paramount are feeling pressure to make this story more widely appealing. It’s a tough subject—a deliberately genocidal murder campaign against the Osage—that opens doors to conversations about even tougher things, like historical genocide and the systemic oppression of Native Americans. It’s not that Oppenheimer didn’t deal with some heavy themes, too, but as a biopic of a guy most people have at least heard of, it was a relatively easy sell. The folks behind that marketing campaign had a bigger challenge standing out from Barbie than they did actually convincing the public to go see a Christopher Nolan film.
But Flower Moon is a harder sell. It’s got Scorsese and some flashy names, but it’s also telling a story a lot of people won’t want to hear. I am terribly curious to see which wins out, the lure of Scorsese, De Niro, and DiCaprio in a film together—I expect the Lily Gladstone bandwagon to arrive once the film is actually out—or the challenge represented by the story itself.