When GEORGE LEWIS, a young movie director with a blossoming career, visits the Chipperfield archive he finds the rushes of the last movie by his personal hero, the legendary Russian filmmaker YURI GADYUKIN. Gadyukin, a charismatic dictator of a director, had come to London in the late 1950s. His film “The Graven Idol” was abandoned when he was murdered by lead actor HARRY WEATHERS. George gets the support of a Hollywood studio and, with the help of a crew lead by his wife and producer EMILY and editor KATE, starts to reconstruct his hero’s film.
Through the eyes of a “making-of” documentary we see George and his crew settle into the dusty and decaying archive where they sift through the hundreds of hours of improvised material that the Russian shot. Meanwhile Emily investigates the circumstances of his death. But neither project proves to be all that it seems. It is unclear whether the Russian’s film is the work of a genius or a madman. Kate and George struggle with the myriad plots and subplots that seem to spin out of control. In doing so, a closeness develops between them which threatens George’s marriage. Meanwhile the crew of “The Graven Idol” prove tight-lipped about a project that ended most of their careers. Even the murder mystery investigation raises more questions than it answers.
With the studio putting on pressure for results, George and his team find themselves being drawn into a web of madness that takes over their lives. Tensions rise. Can they unravel the mystery of “The Graven Idol” before history repeats itself?