Killers of the Flower Moon Review: A Masterpiece by Martin Scorsese

Yet again Martin Scorsese has delivered a cinematic masterpiece in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” This period drama, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone, takes us on a gripping journey into a shocking episode in American history, exploring themes of power, greed, and the impact of avarice on a marginalized community.

Killers of the Flower Moon Review: A Masterpiece by Martin Scorsese

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Scorsese’s fascination with the dynamics of power is evident throughout his filmography. However, in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” he delves deeper into the intricacies of power structures, focusing on those who exist a few rungs below the apex.

The story unfolds in the early 1920s in Gray Horse, Osage County, Oklahoma, where wealth and power are linked.

What sets this narrative apart is the distribution of wealth, the Osage Native Americans, following the discovery of vast oil reserves on their reservation, become the richest per capita.

This sets the stage for a frenzied gold rush atmosphere, as white opportunists vie for a piece of the Osage fortune.

At the core of this gripping story is Ernest Burkhart, depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio, in a performance that is both remarkable and unconventional.

DiCaprio’s Ernest is a dull-witted, pliable nephew of the cunning cattle rancher William Hale, played by Robert De Niro.

Hale is the mastermind behind a sinister plot to seize Osage land, resources, and money through a series of murders.

Ernest, fresh out of the army and ill-suited for any physical or mental exertion, is drawn into his uncle’s malevolent schemes.

The juxtaposition of DiCaprio’s usual sharp-witted characters with Ernest’s clueless demeanor is both fascinating and humorous, adding depth to his portrayal.

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Ernest’s journey is further complicated by his marriage to Mollie, an Osage woman with a huge stake in the oil deposits on her family’s land. Lily Gladstone’s portrayal of Mollie is nothing short of magnetic.

Her serene composure and quiet strength contrast with the swagger and noise of the film’s surroundings. While it may seem improbable that Mollie would be drawn to someone like Ernest, the chemistry between Gladstone and DiCaprio portrays their relationship as one rooted in genuine love.

Mollie is the film’s heart, surrounded by a cast of heartless or, at the very least, clueless characters. Her temporary sidelining due to illness results in a momentary loss of momentum in the film.

However, it highlights her pivotal role as a power source in the narrative. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is a film that weaves a complex and engaging narrative.

The Osage community’s experiences are juxtaposed against the backdrop of a changing world, a world that is ruthlessly exploiting their newfound wealth.

The film’s storytelling, coupled with its authentic portrayal of a little-known chapter in American history, makes it a compelling and thought-provoking experience.

As the plot unfurls, Scorsese explores the themes of corruption, greed, and the abuse of power. The audience is taken on a journey through a time when the Osage people were not only robbed of their land and resources but also of their culture and stories.

Scorsese delivers an scene, featuring a cameo from the director himself, that underscores the cultural appropriation and exploitation suffered by the Native American community.

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It is a powerful statement that reinforces the film’s central theme, the consequences of unchecked power and exploitation.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is not only for its stellar cast and masterful direction but also for its commitment to authenticity.

The Osage Nation played a huge role in the production, serving as consultants, craftsmen, and even actors. The film begins and ends with their rituals, providing a respectful portrayal of their culture.

It serves as a warning against attempts to destroy their community and culture, making it an apocalyptic retelling of history.

In a runtime of 206 minutes, “Killers of the Flower Moon” may appear lengthy, but every minute is worth the investment. Scorsese’s ability to blend his distinctive style with a fresh perspective is evident.

The film never loses sight of the victims at its core, offering a commentary on true crime and how the genre often prioritizes entertainment over understanding.

While it may not adhere to the crime investigation procedural, it offers a unique and deeply moving narrative.

Scorsese’s direction is as masterful as ever, and his collaboration with DiCaprio and De Niro, two of his frequent collaborators, results in brilliant performances.

The film is a testament to the power of storytelling and its ability to shed light on forgotten chapters of history.

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