May 27, 2024
Killers of the Flower Moon

Based on the widely acclaimed best-selling novel by David Grann, “Killers of the Flower Moon” takes place in Oklahoma in the 1920s and tells the story of the horrific crimes known as the Reign of Terror, which included the serial killing of Osage Nation members who were wealthy from oil.

Language of Origin: English

Martin Scorsese is the director.

Producers: Bradley Thomas, Daniel Lupi, Dan Friedkin, and Martin Scorsese

Writers: Martin Scorsese and Eric Roth

Date of Release (Theaters): October 20, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023 is the release date (for streaming).

USA Box Office (Gross): $66.9 million

Duration: 3 hours and 26 minutes

Parent company: Paramount Pictures

Production Companies: Sikelia Productions, Apple Studios, Appian Way, Imperative Entertainment

Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital sound mix

Digital aspect ratio: 2.39:1

The 3-hour, 26-minute slow-burn period drama directed by Martin Scorsese is a wholesome, yet challenging, viewing.
For his new epic saga, Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese reunites with his two favorite leading men, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. It’s another intense crime thriller, but don’t expect the same level of intensity or pace as Raging Bull (1980) or The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). This movie is also a Scorsese Western, but again, don’t expect Leonardo and Robert to fight like cowboys—although they do, in a symbolic sense, through trickery.

Slow-burn Western

Moving the action from Scorsese’s native New York to the Oklahoman countryside seems like a visual adventure. In addition to altering the locations, Scorsese also gives the events a lived-in feel, evoking the Osage community’s weddings, funerals, and day-to-day activities in the 1910s and 1920s.

Through the perspective of an outsider, Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo), we are introduced to the land of the Osage, and Rodrigo Prieto’s glossy, touristy cinematography captures the setting. However, by the time the film ends and we see an aerial view of the Osage community dancing to their native music while dressed colorfully, we are filled with a sense of belonging mixed with a hint of sadness for the destroyed remnants.

ENDORSED

The instantly recognizable Western score, composed by Robbie Robertson, is occasionally heard, but there’s a foreboding undertone mixed with the cowboyish element. It sounds like the white men are just having a good time, partying, riding horses, and shooting guns without thinking about the consequences. In addition to providing a chronological framework for the events, country music offers a luxurious and necessary counterpoint to the violence in the story.

Still, the movie’s pacing isn’t entirely saved by the soundtrack. The Power of the Dog (2021) by Jane Campion is a slow burn that is more emotionally taxing than this movie. Although Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing is flawless, it finds it difficult to cover the extensive screenplay that Scorsese and Eric Roth co-wrote.

Scorsese’s muses return

It’s clear by now how much Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro share Scorsese’s sensibilities. They simply understand him. Leonardo gives up all of his conceit, which he flaunted in The Wolf of Wall Street, to play a confused but ultimately redeemable character. When asked to choose a side between Ernest and Mollie (Lily Gladstone), the husband of Robert’s uncle, William Hale, his eyes convey both intense grief and sheer frustration. When he declares to William, “My life is all regret,” he strikes the ideal balance between reverence and retribution.

Regarding William, Robert De Niro enjoys himself greatly in this role. Robert knows how to play the evil dressed in a three-piece suit.

This film is a discovery in Lily Gladstone, who commands the first part with her sass and charisma on screen.

Thus, Scorsese succeeds in imbuing David Grann’s book with his own unique style. His adaptation unfolds slowly, inch by inch, but it never comes across as ostentatious or tokenistic. At the very end, the filmmaker reappears to narrate the book’s final page, and his teary eyes convey an epic that has been meticulously and powerfully crafted.

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