[Courtesy of Paramount Pictures]

Movie Review: Killers of the Flower Moon

07:00 November 07, 2023
By: David Vicari

Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon is a fascinating true crime story directed by master filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Goodfellas, The Departed) and based on David Grann's 2017 book of the same name. The story takes place in Osage County, Oklahoma during the 1920s, where the Osage Native American tribe discover oil on their land and become wealthy. It's clear that the whites in town want a chunk of this money. Soon, tribal members start turning up dead under suspicious circumstances.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Ernest Burkhart, a soldier returning from World War I to work for his businessman uncle William King Hale (Robert De Niro). Ernest becomes a driver for Mollie (Lily Gladstone), an Osage woman from a rich family, and the two fall in love. Hale encourages marriage because if anything would happen to Mollie or her sisters, the money would funnel to his side—the white side—of the family.

I often complain about movies being overlong and that's usually because they don't have enough story or characterizations to warrant a running time of over two hours. Killers of the Flower Moon runs three and a half hours and it feels right. The film never lags because the story is gripping and the characters are interesting.

The performances are all phenomenal. Ernest is not the brightest bulb in the pack and DiCaprio plays him as a guy who knows he is dumb but trying to pretend he isn't. De Niro is the head villain of the piece and he plays the character chillingly as a jovial grandpa. And Gladstone's performance gives off that her character is smart and has an idea of what is going on, but doesn't want to believe it.

The great music score here is by the late Robbie Robertson, a founding member of The Band and frequent collaborator with Scorsese. Robertson passed away just two months ago and the film is dedicated to him.

Killers of the Flower Moon is, at times, unsettling, tragic, suspenseful, and emotional. It is one of the year's best films.

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