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Killers Of The Flower Moon Is The Next Big Scorsese Drama You Shouldn’t Miss
Tales of human greed are commonplace, but none have been framed so eloquently and brutally by master director Martin Scorsese. At least for this year’s crop of movies.
Based on the book of the same name by David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon is about a former army guy Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he helps his rich uncle, William Hale (Robert De Niro), out with odd jobs or two. The latter resides in a town that’s rich with oil & prosperous grounds, but also has both wealthy white people and Native Americans, mostly the Osage Nation. The film is set in a time where white people plan to manipulate and extort from the Osage as much as they can, failing that which leads them to commit murders upon murders that go uninvestigated. Also, Ernest falls in love with a Native American Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone) who also has riches tied to her family name.
While Ernest is the main character, he is certainly not a hero as we see him getting influenced by his greedy uncle, who is actually seen as a champion to the Osage when in fact there’s more than meets the eye. The story starts out heartwarming enough, then gradually descends into the crime drama genre it’s placed in, while keeping you captivated with everybody’s questionable choices when it comes to pursuing the almighty dollar that isn’t really theirs in the first place. Much like how some countries persecute natives of the land they supposedly own, the surrounding narrative of the victimized Osage Nation being circled by white sharks slowly before going for the kill is definitely relatable.
This is not a mystery film in the veins of an Agatha Christie novel, because you already know who the perpetrators are. Rather, the whole Scorsese-directed crime drama tells the true history of how greed just makes everyone dig their own graves, half the time literally. Everything from the vista shots to the direction and colours of the film just makes you engrossed with everybody’s plight, while also disgusted at their lack of morals. The final third of the film goes to great lengths to wrap things up with the BOI and lawyers with special appearances from Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser; it does so masterfully without resorting to crazy plot twists and goes for a more subdued approach.
Perhaps the only downside to tuning in to this heavy history-rich drama, with its plethora of editing and direction techniques that still prove Scorsese’s masterclass talent is timeless, is its runtime. 3 hours is a huge ask for an audience, but luckily the stellar performances from everyone just make that go by without any waste. While DiCaprio and de Niro are expected to pull out amazing performances for their good buddy Scorsese, props should go to Lily Gladstone for her reserved yet stubborn demeanour as the wife of a misled man. Her work can go toe-to-toe with earlier works from the aforementioned acting veterans.
Even with a seemingly familiar tale of greed and corruption, with a small hint of redemption, Scorsese made the experience fresh with the indigenous context, time period, masterful direction and camerawork. The fallout and murders that follow also help make the downward spiral of a tale even more grisly, but that’s to be expected when you want to make a historical crime drama that doesn’t pull its punches while also looking like art.
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