DiCaprio looking at DeNiro in an old car from the 20s

Killers of the Flower Moon

January 3, 2024
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It’s good to know that Martin Scorsese still has it in him to create something as beautiful as it is brutal.

Taking place in the 1920s in Oklahoma, Killers of the Flower Moon focuses on the shocking murders that took place in the Osage Nation following the discovery of oil on its land and the subsequent financial success of the tribe benefitting from it. Attracting various businessmen, poachers, fakes, and legitimate interest from outside parties over the years, including the vagabond World War I veteran Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his rich and influential uncle, William King Hale (Robert DeNiro), Ernest soon strikes up a relationship Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), a member of the tribe and eventual owner of her family’s oil headrights. Putting in motion a plan that would see him gain the rights to the oil and everything they entail, William enlists Ernest to assist in his long con, a scheme that leaves a slew of bodies in their wake and a tribal nation nearly in ruins.

Bringing to life a tragic story that highlights the treatment of Native Americans by, who else, old rich white people and the faceless monster that is capitalism, Killers of the Flower Moon is a movie that benefits from Scorsese’s direction and care as a filmmaker while giving his go-to leading men in DiCaprio and DeNiro something to chew on. Joined by the great Lily Gladstone in a role that I hope she gets nominated for, this movie shows what a couple hundred million dollars looks and feels like when thrown behind a dramatic story that hits hard while simultaneously drawing attention to real-life events that eventually fall right in line with Scorsese’s usual love for organized crime films.

And while there’s technically not much wrong with this one save for its unreasonably long runtime and the sluggish pacing brought on because of it, the movie’s script does feel a bit surface-level in its exploration of the events the film is based on. Though the murders happen at a consistent clip throughout, it takes nearly the entire movie to circle around to the whole investigation part of things, and when it does eventually take place, it almost feels like an afterthought to a story that seems more interested in the relationship between DiCaprio and Gladstone’s characters than anything else. This isn’t necessarily a gripe that hurts the film in any significant way, as I enjoyed seeing these characters meet, fall in love, have a family, and then eventually fizzle out spectacularly, but I did expect a bit more time dedicated to the real hook of the film, especially considering the movie is so overstuffed with other things that most definitely could have been trimmed down.

I honestly really liked this movie, mostly because Scorsese is the king of making films that feel like the definition of what it means to be a Hollywood picture, and although it firmly sits in the top tier of Scorsese movies as one of his better offerings, the runtime and some parts of the script kept it from being even better. I hope Scorsese has a few more projects like Killers of the Flower Moon in him before he stops directing films forever because after watching this one, he certainly still knows how to make them.

It’s good to know that Martin Scorsese still has it in him to create something as beautiful as it is brutal. Taking place in the 1920s in Oklahoma, Killers of the Flower Moon focuses on the shocking murders that took place in the Osage Nation following the discovery of oil on its land and the subsequent financial success of the tribe benefitting from it. Attracting various businessmen, poachers, fakes, and legitimate interest from outside parties over the years, including the vagabond World War I veteran Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his rich and influential uncle, William King Hale (Robert DeNiro), Ernest soon strikes up a relationship Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), a member of the tribe and eventual owner of her family’s oil headrights. Putting in motion a plan that would see him gain the rights to the oil and everything they entail, William enlists Ernest to assist in his long con, a scheme that leaves a slew of bodies in their wake and a tribal nation nearly in ruins. Bringing to life a tragic story that highlights the treatment of Native Americans by, who else, old rich white people and the faceless monster that is capitalism, Killers of the Flower Moon is a movie that benefits from Scorsese’s direction and care as a filmmaker while giving his go-to leading men in DiCaprio and DeNiro something to chew on. Joined by the great Lily Gladstone in a role that I hope she gets nominated for, this movie shows what a couple hundred million dollars looks and feels like when thrown behind a dramatic story that hits hard while simultaneously drawing attention to real-life events that eventually fall right in line with Scorsese’s usual love for organized crime films. And while there’s technically not much wrong with this one save for its unreasonably long runtime and the sluggish pacing brought on because of it, the movie’s script does feel a bit surface-level in its exploration of the events the film is based on. Though the murders happen at a consistent clip throughout, it takes nearly the entire movie to circle around to the whole investigation part of things, and when it does eventually take place, it almost feels like an afterthought to a story that seems more interested in the relationship between DiCaprio and Gladstone’s characters than anything else. This isn’t necessarily a gripe that hurts the film in any significant way, as I enjoyed seeing these characters meet, fall in love, have a family, and then eventually fizzle out spectacularly, but I did expect a bit more time dedicated to the real hook of the film, especially considering the movie is so overstuffed with other things that most definitely could have been trimmed down. I honestly really liked this movie, mostly because Scorsese is the king of making films that feel like the definition of what it means to be a Hollywood picture, and although it firmly sits in the top tier of Scorsese movies as one of his better offerings, the runtime and some…

8

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Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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