Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” – Long but not Epic

Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese’s latest film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is a substantial cinematic endeavor that treads a fine line between being long and truly epic. At a runtime of three and a half hours, it’s an earnest attempt to delve into a painful chapter of history.

However, it ultimately feels more drawn out than grand. Scorsese’s dedication to historical and cultural accuracy is evident throughout the film, but the emotional depth and heft seem somewhat lacking.

Collaboration and Cast

In his cinematic exploration, Scorsese reunites with longtime collaborator Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, marking his sixth feature-length film with the latter. While De Niro’s performance is solid, DiCaprio’s character feels somewhat limited in scope, preventing the movie from achieving the emotional resonance that could match its vast historical canvas.

Lily Gladstone shines as Mollie Kyle, an Osage woman whose family’s oil riches make them the wealthiest people on Earth per capita. Her character adds depth and authenticity to the narrative, but the script tends to focus more on Ernest Burkhart, played by DiCaprio, leaving gaps in her character development.

A Dark Chapter in History

“Killers of the Flower Moon” explores the wanton murder of Native Americans for their oil money a century ago. The film portrays the unsettling history of how local authorities turned a blind eye to these atrocities, emphasizing historical accuracy and the brutality faced by people of color, as evidenced by the reference to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The Plot Unfolds

Ernest Burkhart, returning from World War I, finds himself drawn into a web of greed and power as his uncle, Bill Hale, portrayed by De Niro, seeks control over the Osage oil rights. The film meticulously chronicles this series of events, revealing the ruthless scheming of those pursuing wealth at any cost.

The Arrival of the FBI

The narrative takes an intriguing turn when the FBI enters the scene, led by agent Jesse Plemons. This shift in the story injects new energy, prompting a wish that they had introduced this element earlier in the film.

Scorsese’s Streaming Phase

As Martin Scorsese enters the streaming phase of his career, his films, while not groundbreaking, tend to be better than average. “Killers of the Flower Moon” has the advantage of a big-screen release, including Imax screens, providing a sense of grandeur that aligns with the director’s intentions.

In Conclusion

“Killers of the Flower Moon” stands as a testament to the filmmaker’s dedication to historical accuracy and storytelling. While it may not fully reach epic proportions, it successfully sheds light on a dark chapter in American history and serves as a significant addition to Scorsese’s body of work.