Killers of the Flower Moon Movie review & film summary (2023)

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killers of the flower moon movie review 2023

Killers of the Flower Moon Movie review :

Early in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Ernest Burkhardt (Leonardo DiCaprio) reads aloud from a children’s book, asking, “Do you see the wolves in this picture?” The wolves aren’t actually concealed at all, and they won’t be in the movie that comes after it, a brilliant historical drama about how evil can sneak up on you. How little of its heinous behavior remains hidden is among the most unsettling aspects of Scorsese’s elaborate adaptation of the non-fiction book of the same name by David Grann.

This is the tale of men who ordered the killing of people nearly as casually as they would order a beer at a bar. Scorsese treads a thin line between discussing the wider essence of evil and portraying a very intimate story of a couple at the center of a catastrophe. As long as their actions ultimately benefit them, the wolves in “Killers of the Flower Moon” don’t hesitate to consider the possibility that what they’re doing may be wrong.

After being forced off their territory and onto what was thought to be a wasteland in Oklahoma at the turn of the twentieth century, the Osage Nation was shocked to discover that it had been given the earthly gift of oil, which had made them the richest people in the nation per capita pretty quickly. The people who had claimed a nation they never possessed naturally wanted a piece of this action, which sparked a land war in the area and made William King Hale (Robert De Niro) a legend. Hale was a kingmaker in the Osage region despite only being a cattle baron himself.

He was able to use political ploys to gain the support of both the Osage and the local white population while working behind the scenes to enrich himself. As a man who loves to be called “King,” De Niro provides one of the best performances of his career, captivatingly conveying the type of sociopath who can sell murder with a smile. He doesn’t cut you off behind. He does so while giving you his whole attention.

In his nephew Ernest, who has just returned from the war and is prepared to be a good soldier for a new cause, Hale detects someone who is easily misled. Starting up as a driver for the affluent Osage in the region, Ernest meets Mollie (Lily Gladstone). Just before successive killings of Mollie’s family and other Osage people, the two get married. On the same day that another Osage Nation man is shot, Mollie’s sister Anna (Cara Jade Myers), who is married to Ernest’s brother Bryan (Scott Shepherd), is discovered shot beside a creek. When Mollie learns she has diabetes and loses her sister to “Wasting Disease,” she becomes a convenient target because she must stay in bed.

The central characters in Eric Roth & Scorsese’s writing are Ernest, Mollie, and Hale. Tantoo Cardinal plays Mollie’s mother in this historical drama, and there are a ton of other well-known actors who are also musicians, such as Charlie Musselwhite, Sturgill Simpson, Pete Yorn, Jack White, and a memorable Jason Isbell. Jesse Plemons plays a BOI agent who would lead the investigation into the Osage murders. John Lithgow and Brendan Fraser play competing attorneys.

Even though “Killers of the Flower Moon” isn’t a classic gangster film, it fits right in with the themes of violent, corrupt guys that Scorsese has been exploring for the past fifty years. However, there’s also an air of experience about Scorsese’s work here, as if he’s using this horrible true incident to consider how we came to be where we are today, a century later. How did we allow the soil of this nation to be fertilized by blood? Through the investigation into the Osage murders, which served as the basis for much of the novel, Scorsese and Roth were able to change the narrative to Mollie and Ernest’s more intimate points of view.

The movie shows how integral injustice was to the development of riches and disparity in this nation through their story, which goes beyond simply presenting injustice. It is plenty of comments on how this casual brutality against those who are viewed as less important permeated a century of tragedy. The allusions to the KKK and the Tulsa Massacre are not coincidental. Everything fits into the overall image of those who oppress because it is so simple for them to do so.

Naturally, Scorsese’s ambitions wouldn’t be possible without his team of collaborators, and for this story, he’s selected some of the best. When capturing the vast Osage Nation land, Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography is expansive, yet it can also be dramatic with a sweating close-up. The film’s heartbeat, provided by Robbie Robertson’s throbbing score, lends tension to its protracted running duration. With a conventional, classical score, this story wouldn’t move forward with quite the same vigor.

Lastly, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is one of Thelma Schoonmaker’s most renowned works, and she is partly to blame for Scorsese’s sense of rhythm as a director. Given the length of Scorsese’s longest film, some may make jokes about the editing, but consider the scale of this multi-year narrative and how carefully Schoonmaker helps pace the last segment, moving us through our country’s brutal past without ever losing the thread of this intricate saga.

Regarding the acting, it has inherent power to watch Scorsese’s two inspirations acting opposite one another for the first time since “This Boy’s Life,” as De Niro and DiCaprio give each other’s performances a boost with what is essentially another story about a violent parent. But for the majority of people, Gladstone will be the revelation. The star of “Certain Women” is an expert at playing this part; she avoids dramatization at all costs and always grounds her character in the reality of the situation rather than acting as a proxy for all Indigenous victims. There are moments when “Killers of the Flower Moon” almost becomes a larger political message, but Gladstone’s acting, in particular, keeps the movie true to its characters.

This is a component that the entire ensemble is aware of, portraying the situation as it actually is rather than as a historical study. Mollie Burkhardt had no idea that her story would one century later help establish the FBI and shed light on injustice. She only wanted to live and love, just like so many others who had their fundamental human rights violated.

Ultimately, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is like a puzzle; each inventive component contributes to creating the whole. It’s so simple to see the wolves when it’s all put together. What should we do when we locate them is the current concern.

On October 20 in theaters and later on Apple TV+.

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