Michael Buckner for Diversity
Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday night to the biggest and loudest standing ovation ever. The 3 hour and 26 minute epic look at greed, racism and a dark and largely unexplored chapter of American history stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. This mesmerized the crowd so much that they rose to their feet and started applauding for 9 minutes after the credits ended and the lights came on.
Scorsese, returning to the festival for the first time since 1985’s “After Hours,” clearly loved Cannes, which brought it to the south of France. And that’s good news for Apple Original Films, which gave the author a reported $200 million budget to realize his vision, hoping he’ll deliver one of his signature explorations of criminality. However, many of those films unfold on the average streets of New York. The film is set in northeastern Oklahoma as members of the Osage Nation are systematically murdered to a gruesome end.
DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Gladstone, and Jesse Plemons walked the red carpet before the premiere, braving rain and overcast weather to inject some sizzling glamor into the evening. Gladstone, who plays an Osage woman who is targeted by her greedy husband for his oil wealth, earned rave reviews and held back tears as the crowd applauded loudly at the premiere. On social media, Oscar bloggers were already touting her performance to garner potential awards attention.
As the film ended in applause, Scorsese took the microphone to address the crowd. “Thank you for the Osages,” he said. “Everyone is attached to the picture. My old friends Bob and Leo, and Jessie and Lily. We shot it two years ago in Oklahoma. It took time to come around but Apple did great by us. There was a lot of grass. I’m a New Yorker. I was very surprised. It was an amazing experience. We lived in that world.
The applause could have gone on for much longer had the filmmaker not been called upon to address the packed theatre. Scorsese said “thank you” as the crowd continued to cheer. He seemed elated by the response, though he also made it clear that he didn’t like having cameras on him (a perk of the Cannes experience where every movement in the presence of A-listers is captured for posterity). is done). Around Scorsese, actors playing members of the Osage wiped their eyes, overcome with emotion.
The screening of the film started 45 minutes late, but the crowd inside the palace seemed unperturbed. After all, “The Killers of the Flower Moon” was the festival’s most anticipated film and its hottest ticket, one of those moments where the brightest talent converged in the south of France to celebrate the art (and glitter) of Hollywood moviemaking. Sends. And there were also Mughals among the film stars. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared in Cannes to support the company’s foray into film production. When the Apple banner flickers across the screen as the film begins, the crowd erupts in applause, a contrast to the reception received at media screenings (more on that later).
Elsewhere along the Croisette, Cannes’ chaotic streak continued at the 4:30 p.m. press screening for “Killer” at the Debut Theater, with a queue all the way to the Club Maritime, which sits just behind the festival’s central hub Is. Journalists who arrived an hour before the screening had to wait outside, getting drenched in the rain. The doors opened just 10 minutes before the screening was to begin, a mad scramble broke out as people made their way into the theater to get into the theater. By the time the auditorium was fully seated (it’s still unclear whether everyone who was in line made it) and the lights dimmed, the film was running 15 minutes late.
Yet the involuntary silliness of the festival did not spoil the mood inside, where the press occupied nearly every seat in the 1,068-seat cinema, and raucous cheers broke out as the film began. When the Apple TV+ logo caused some hooting, one brave member of the press shouted, “Hey! They paid for it!
Overall, De Niro and DiCaprio’s unpredictable comedic performances, especially a sequence in which De Niro beats DiCaprio with a paddle in a secluded Mason’s lodge, were warmly received with laughs rolling throughout the film. And it appears that Gladstone stole the film from the two vets. “She’s amazing,” an attendee enthused of her performance at a pivotal moment toward the end of the film.
Based on David Grann’s 2017 book “Killer of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” Scorsese’s latest is set in 1920s Oklahoma and focuses on a series of murders in the Osage Nation. The newly formed FBI arrives on the scene to investigate and uncover a sinister operation. The supporting cast includes Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow (Scorsese also has a cameo that drew loud applause).
Notably, “Flower Moon” marks the first time Oscar winners DiCaprio and De Niro have worked together in a feature film since Michael Keaton-Jones’ 1993 drama “This Boy’s Life.” Both actors played fictionalized versions of themselves in Scorsese’s short film “The Audition”. De Niro starred in Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” “Cape Feare” and “Raging Bull” and earned Oscar nominations for Best Actor, winning for the latter. DiCaprio was Oscar-nominated for Scorsese’s “The Aviator” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “Flower Moon” marks the first time the three collaborators have worked together on a feature.
Scorsese worked closely with the Osage Nation during the production of “Flower Moon”, with Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear serving as a consultant. Gladstone told Diversity The Osage Nation played a huge role in shaping the film from Scorsese’s original plan.
Gladstone said, “Work is better when you report work to the world.” “It was so refreshing how involved the production [Osage Nation] community. As the community got excited about our presence, the more community got involved with the film. this is a different movie [Scorsese] went to build almost entirely because of what the community had to say about how it was being built and what was being featured.
Apple and Paramount will release “Killers of the Flower Moon” in theaters on October 20. It will then debut on Apple’s streaming service at an unspecified date.
“Killer of the Flower Moon” was out of competition at Cannes, so it will not be eligible for the Palme d’Or, the festival’s highest award. Scorsese won the Palme d’Or for “Taxi Driver” and earned a directing award at Cannes for “After Hours”.
Manori Raveendran contributed to this report.