By Santiago Brion | November 6, 2023
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Killers of the Flower Moon is the new movie from acclaimed veteran filmmaker Martin Scorsese. The film takes place in the 1920s Midwest. It tells the true story of the murders of the Osage native tribe in the perspective of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Ernest Burghardt. He marries a native woman named Molly, and is caught up in the genocide of Molly’s people. Marty’s three and a half hour epic is not exactly a “white savior of the Native tribe” movie but more of a movie in which one way or another, humans are complacent in genocide, including Ernest.
Killers of the Flower Moon is based on a book by David Grann of the same name, the book is told from the perspective of the FBI investigating the Osage murders. The film originally had Leonardo DiCaprio play Jesse Plemons’ FBI character, but was then shifted to the perspective of Ernest to show the first hand account of the slaughter of the Osage. As you see Ernest and Molly fall in love and get married, you get the sense of this overwhelming dark cloud over their heads as Molly’s entire family starts to die. Despite Ernest’s dedication and love for Molly and their children, he was afraid to backstab his scheming oil baron uncle who is the mastermind behind these murders.
Leonardo DiCaprio gives yet another great lead performance in his 4th movie with Scorsese, but Lily Gladstone is the beating heart of this movie, her magnetic presence in every scene that she’s in is a masterclass of screeching grief and anger. Also starring alongside DiCaprio and Gladstone is Robert De Niro who plays Ernest’s uncle William King Hale, with the limited screen time that he had, also gives a great performance as this manipulative and sinister oil baron. Other standouts include Jesse Plemons, Cara Jade Myers, and Tatanka Means.
Brendan Fraser’s role as one of Ernest’s lawyers is a very divisive performance to say the least, some saying that it’s over-the-top and out of place in a somber movie or that the performance works in a movie that brims with Scorsese’s style like improvised dialogue and great editing choices from Thelma Schoonmaker.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” proves once again that Scorsese has never lost his touch in his directing. The way that long-time collaborating editor Thelma Schoonmaker makes the longest movie of three and a half hours feel less boring is very impressive.
While the film does end in a very gimmick-y way, I think it works for how the story of the Osage is, at least in its place in history, has been told in black and white and barely learned in schools across the country.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is Martin Scorsese’s warning shot into the dark history of not only our country but other countries that have become complicit in vile colonialism and mass murder in order to gain profit from oil and resources for prosperity in urbanization and the industrialization of the working class.
Overall, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is another masterpiece. A 10/10.