For the second consecutive time, director Martin Scorcese has delivered an almost three-and-a-half-hour long film, thus “Killers of the Flower Moon” seems to be a long and lengthy film instead of an epic one. According to the running time, it is the second longest film of Scorcese’s career (206 minutes) just behind his previous film The Irishman (209 minutes) in 2019.
Deriving from a real-life event, the story revolves around the murder of members of the Osage Native American tribe of Osage County, Oklahoma after oil was found on their land in 2020.
About “Killers of the Flower Moon”:
To maintain cultural and historical accuracy, Scorcese has teamed up with his old and new friends. Starring Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, and others, the film depicts a violent story of America in the early 20th century. This is the sixth collaboration between Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo’s (Ernest Burkhart) limited nature and character provide a weak link while giving the movie an emotional depth and attachment.
The real star of the film is Molly Burkhart aka Lily Gladstone who portrays the role of the Osage woman whose family is among the heirs to those oil riches, which made them the wealthiest people on Earth per capita while paying a huge price for it. Despite her strong and natural character, the script is tilted toward Ernest or Leonardo DiCaprio.
Friend of Osage Nation, William King Hale (played by De Niro) focused his eye on gaining control over the oil and his nephew Ernest Burkhart was another means for him to achieve his goal.
After returning from World War I, Ernest arrived in Oklahoma to make money and married an Osage woman to fulfill his dream of having wealth quickly. Sober Molly simply can’t resist Ernest and Ernest gradually sets about wooing her. Gradually, Ernest started to love her despite participating in his uncle’s business to destroy anyone who might stand between him and wealth.
Scorcese gained the idea from David Grann’s book “Killers of the Flower Moon”, and gets the credit for the screenplay alongside Eric Roth. Scorcese took his time to depict the cascading series of events, which may work as one of the revelatory chapters in US history. The reference to the Tulsa Race Massacre (1921) provides useful context on the brutal killings of black people by the white ones who have no to little fear of punishment or reprisal.
The narrative shifts gears when Scorcese introduces Jesse Plemons, an agent of the Bureau of Investigation to investigate the situation. In all the extraordinary movies that Scorcese has directed, the finished product always has some kind of reputational value associated with the director and the stars he works with.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” received a wide big-screen launch including hundreds of Imax screens like another lengthy film, “Oppenheimer.” Oppenheimer describes a historical event that changed the world and was able to bind the audience with the film. On the contrary, Scorcese has made a crime-thriller based on a dark history of the USA with less bang than what was expected.