Murder and heartbreak – “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Spanning just under three and a half hours, “Killers of the Flower Moon” took up my entire Thursday evening. Was it worth it? Yes! 

In “Killers of the Flower Moon,” we witness the history of the indigenous Osage tribe who lived in the Osage County of Oklahoma for centuries. Once oil was discovered in the land, money flowed freely to the Osage people, and the Osage reservation became known for its wealth and abundance. However, this would come with a price that couldn’t be paid for with money.

Murder and deceit plagued the Osage people (primarily the women) due to the white men who unhesitantly acted on greed – and the mastermind behind it all, William Hale, played by Robert De Niro. Hale puppeteered those around him to collect insurance money from the deaths of the Osage people; this manipulation influenced his nephew Ernest Burkhart, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, and led to the destruction of those closest to Burkhart.

At the tail-end of the film, the producers break the fourth wall by integrating the theater audience with an on-screen audience; this reminds viewers that we are witnessing a historic retelling of true-crime. They account for information that pertains to the characters in the story and how they lived the rest of their lives – leaving no path unexplored.  

With a story this long that has many complex plot points, it is difficult to encapsulate the entirety of the film into one review. 

The film is an adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” and was created with excellence. Considering the $200 million budget, Director Martin Scorsese had great means to produce a cinematic piece of art. 

Despite the lengthy duration, the film had a good pace that kept me drawn to the story. I was quite restless throughout its entirety, but maybe that’s just a me thing.

One detail in the film that caught me by surprise was the grisly depiction of murder. There was graphic imagery of bloodied appendages and cracked skulls, with many indigenous people being shot and killed throughout the film. The depiction of violence was honest and necessary considering the deeply violent past that European Americans inflicted upon indigenous societies. 

Dicaprio’s depiction of Burkhart was earnest and passionate; you can tell that he gave this role his all. Alongside him and De Niro, we see other well-known stars such as Brendan Fraser and Jesse Plemons. Plus, viewers see the director, Scorsese, at the beginning and end of the film.

The main star of the movie, in my opinion, was Lily Gladstone in her role of Mollie Burkhart. Burkhart is from the Osage tribe, and experienced loss all throughout the film. Aside from the grim side of her story, she is also seen as a loving sister and mother. Gladstone did an amazing job playing this role and she did so with prestige and excellence.

On Rotten Tomatoes, this film has a 92% Tomatometer score as of Oct. 20. In my earnest opinion, I’d give this film a four out of five (minus one point for the long run time).

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