Killers of the Flower Moon Review

Killers of the Flower Moon
Killers of the Flower Moon
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As far as brutality goes, Killers of the Flower Moon is brutal. Within a sequence of 206 minutes, the film encompasses a series of numerous killings that are rarely depicted in any other movie. Arguably, Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Eric Roth’s rendering of David Grann’s journalistic non-fiction book into textures and background tapestries is the key reason why this movie remains focused on a toxic love story set against a creepy vision of Indian annihilation.

Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio were among Scorsese’s most prominent on-screen partners who could be seen in his films; hence it has an element of star power that was never before witnessed in his previous movies. Nevertheless, it is Lily Gladstone who plays Mollie Burkhart, the wealthy Osage tribeswoman who falls for DiCaprio’s chauffeur character but watches her family wither away with their culture soon after falling for him; she turns out to be quite the revelation here. The actress opens up with a wonderful performance that starts off as gentle and authoritative; however, without warning her face becomes pale while her eyes lose focus.

The storyline behind Killers of the Flower Moon is about several killings that occurred within Oklahoma during the 1920s involving victims from a rich oil-bearing community related to or belonging to an Indian tribe whose wealth was put under white “guardians” by the US government but yet there was no serious investigation at first over these murders. The fact that he didn’t give much away or show all his cards early kept me interested though, unlike other authors who would just want us to read their stories making them ambiguous especially when the appearance narrative slowly connected homicidal activities carried out by inept (yet cruel) fellows responsible for murder only after formation Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI).

However, we have decided not to keep our hands hidden thus beginning from virtually nothing new regarding how things came about – this would be an incredibly broad conspiracy in motion. Moreover, Grann’s book explains that many white men of the era considered the killing of Indians as animal cruelty, not murder. So when Tom White (Jesse Plemmons) arrives late in the story there is nothing left for him to do other than obtain confessions for what everyone already knows.

It is a nauseating emotional puncher that comes from a murder mystery as narrated by murderers who are least ashamed about killing people they find beneath them, which include their financial gains and the amount of power and political influence they possess. This makes Killers Of The Flower Moon serve as one more allegory about one of America’s original sins – the ill-treatment of its indigenous population since its inception, with widespread slaughter occurring without severe consequences.

However, its Osage characters are not portrayed as mere sympathetic victims. Only DiCaprio and DeNiro’s quietly cruel characters to the Osage are shown more onscreen than them. Ernest is played by DiCaprio as an eager stooge, whose charm is overshadowed by complicity, while DeNiro plays his apparently kindhearted uncle who is scheming cattleman and business magnate William Hale, boldly calling himself “The King of the Osage Hills.” But it’s through the eyes of this Native American tribe that Killer of a Flower Moon truly hits the mark.

The script was heavily rewritten with Osage’s input – there is no doubt about this – hence in addition to all those cruelties committed upon them, this story talks much about their culture from their birth, death, and marriage rituals and beliefs to how they move around. A few full-blood Osage men show all aspects of their lives from respect for tradition and tribal gatherings up to rumors or flirtation displayed among others. It manages to give us a vibrant sense of what (and who) has been lost.

Killers of the Flower Moon functions as a reflexive Western despite being set in the 1920s, starting with Rodrigo Prieto’s stunning landscape cinematography right up to Robbie Robertson’s genre reminders throughout his musical score. Also framed within the conventions of classic mob movie genres are many conspirators behind said conspiracy; they’re black-hatted outlaws and untouchable gangsters thinking in code (but then again: pretty much out in the open). In contrast with earlier Hollywood history where innocent white people were usually targeted by Native “savages” in that part; here Scorsese masterfully combines real life with film history thereby exposing one whilst destroying another.

However, what keeps Killers Of The Flower Moon compelling even over its long runtime is its relentless pace be it through Scorsese’s fluid camera work Thelma Schoonmaker’s snappy editing, or a combination of the two. The subject matter may be somber, but this is a Scorsese movie through and through, with a litany of minor parts played by instantly recognizable actors (like Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow) and scenes of snappy dialogue that make each bit of planning and plotting feel like something out of Goodfellas. It’s deceptive; yet, it knows precisely when to remove you from your comfortable cinematic experience by jarring you with harsh facts about violence just outside the frame (and sometimes within it).

This long runtime means that for extended periods there is something heavy that will settle in your stomach like the latter hour of Scorsese’s The Irishman where learning the details of a secret murder plot becomes stressful and harrowing. However, this time around, everything is much more transparent – at least all white guys see that – while the camera also takes part in it – which makes things worse as far as fear goes. This is made even sadder considering how easily violence against Osage people can be committed even within so-called fair systems that are unlikely to prosecute white men for these crimes in the first place.

However, this does not mean that the film’s most engaging moments are not those that revolve around Mollie and Ernest’s genuine love story, they are. Because of its domestic nature, it filters the broken trust between America’s Natives and its colonizers down to a family level. It is a multifaceted relationship with an admirable realistic glow. Still, everything about this central romance is constantly called into question by the lamentable circumstances surrounding them all (and his association with unsavory characters).

Just as brutal as doubt, violent bloodshed can be really hurting, thus making Mollie and even the audience contemplate if Ernest can ever be true to her or whether he is one of those men whose genuineness remains questionable. For instance, can we believe him since his actions so indisputably fall within what political philosopher Hannah Arendt referred to as “the banality of evil,” concerning how Nazi officers would mindlessly obey orders without questioning?

In contrast, Killers of the Flower Moon lets us know who committed the crime and therefore focuses on Ernest’s morality through Mollie’s eyes making it a mystery at its core before reaching an emotional gut punch—a strong finish. The focus on Ernest’s weighty actions also sets up the beats for the movie and keeps us anchored to its emotional uncertainties, even when it feel self-assured about its cinematic pleasures. But while it helps achieve resolution in terms of plot, there is no emotional ending offered which is something Scorcese does purposefully before calling attention to it mischievously through a meta-textual playfulness that goes further by acknowledging that such violence on screen could still have long-term consequences.

But death does not lurk around every corner but on every city street in America like in Native lives.

Like the novel upon which it was based, Killers of the Flower Moon painstakingly creates an Osage tribe where they were renowned for the 1920s murders committed upon them and Mollie Burkhart’s life after her family was almost wiped out. Playing Mollie, actress Lily Gladstone is positively radiant with naïve love and ferocious fury, which will definitely get her noticed by Hollywood – especially given how she stands up against some of the most corrosive performances in recent years by De Niro and DiCaprio as men whose occasional gestures of warmness are always tinged by a coldness beneath. Yet this is one of Scorsese’s harshest yet most contemplative films where he least dissolves into a subversive murder “mystery” that leaves no lingering questions except one. It asks how far Americans will go for money; a question that has shaped America’s history.

Read Killers of the Flower Moon on Fmovies

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