'Empire of Light' Trailer: Sam Mendes Crafts An Ode To Cinema Starring Olivia Colman

With one Oscar, four BAFTA, and three Golden Globe wins, now seems as good a time as any for director Sam Mendes to make an ode to the art form that made his name. Like Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” Mendes’ latest film, “Empire of Light,” is not only about the power of cinema as an escape, but also its magical facility to bring strangers together.

Set in the early 1980s against the backdrop of an English seaside town, “Empire of Light” tells the story of Hilary (Olivia Colman), a front-of-house worker at the local Empire theater, and Stephen (Michael Ward), a new and enthusiastic employee. The pair form a bond with each other and with the movie house, but must soon face up to the transience of their quiet pleasures. Colman and Ward are joined by Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke, and Colin Firth. Toby Jones, who once played a sound engineer in Peter Strickland’s “Berberian Sound Studio,” takes on the role of the Empire’s projectionist.

READ MORE: ‘Empire of Light’ Review: Olivia Colman Is Heartbreaking In Sam Mendes’ Drama [Telluride]

“Empire of Light” premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where it featured alongside “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” “The Eternal Daughter,” “The Whale,” and “Women Talking,” among many others.

“Empire of Light” looks to be a big contender for awards later this year, not only because of its magnificent cast but also because it features work from three two-time Academy Award winners: Roger Deakins (who has shot four of Mendes’ eight features), as well as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who wrote the film’s score. Only time will tell how Oscar-worthy the film is, but one thing is for certain: this is not a movie cinephiles are going to want to miss.

“Empire of Light” hits theaters on December 9. Watch the new trailer below: