In their seventh collaboration, the iconic duo of Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese once again takes center stage, offering us an enthralling cinematic experience. Let’s dissect the highs and lows of Killers of the Flower Moon in this spoiler-free review.
This film, grounded in a true story, stands apart from the duo’s previous endeavors due to its historical context. Yet, it retains a signature Scorsese touch. As the narrative unfolds, it thrusts us into the heart of a haunting and grim chapter of history: the wave of killings that plagued the Osage tribe in 1920s Oklahoma. Simultaneously, it offers a harrowing glimpse into the ruthless world of the oil industry during that era.
Killers of the Flower Moon draws its inspiration from the 2017 book by David Grann and is presented as an Apple TV+ original. While I had the privilege of experiencing it in theaters, it’s only a matter of time before it graces the streaming platform. As of the publication of this review, the film is anticipated to generate between 24 to 28 million in its opening week, with early ticket sales showing some modest figures. However, could be a movie that thrives on word of mouth, just as “Oppenheimer” did earlier this year. It’s yet another feather in the cap of Apple’s burgeoning film division, solidifying its reputation in the world of prestige cinema.
What I Liked
Killers of the Flower Moon doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performances. Leonardo DiCaprio, in the role of the complex and conflicted Ernest, delivers a portrayal that’s both nuanced and riveting. The supporting cast, including Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro, holds their own and brings depth to the characters. The attention to period-accurate wardrobe and meticulously crafted set designs make the 1920s come to life on screen. Every detail, right down to DiCaprio’s teeth (which I suspect were prosthetic), seamlessly immerses us in the era. The film is a visual treat, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it garners accolades for its cinematic artistry.
Killers of the Flower Moon doesn’t shy away from shedding light on the darker corners of history. It crafts a compelling narrative around the frenzied quest for oil riches and the unimaginable atrocities committed against the Osage tribe.
One undeniable drawback of this film is its runtime – a staggering three and a half hours. While it mostly breezes by, I found myself grappling with restlessness towards the end. If I were watching at home, I might have chosen to break it up into multiple sittings.
In terms of storytelling, one striking aspect is the absence of conventional heroes, leaving a trail of victims in their wake. I couldn’t help but feel that the Native American characters, beyond Maggie, should have played a more central role. Where were the younger adult males of the tribe? While Killers of the Flower Moon is grounded in historical accuracy, I expected a more pronounced presence from them in the narrative. It’s worth noting that this is a great movie, but it’s not necessarily an enjoyable one due to the distressing events it portrays. The film’s conclusion felt somewhat disjointed, as if the ending was tacked on and didn’t seamlessly align with the rest of the narrative.
The film also sparks a discussion about Scorsese’s views on cinema in contrast to blockbuster movies. Scorsese famously commented that “those movies are closer to theme parks than to movies.” He emphasized that “Cinema was about revelation, synesthetic emotion and spiritual revelation. It was about characters and the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt one another and love one another and suddenly come face to face with themselves.”
Going by these statements, blockbuster and superhero movies have the potential to embody the essence of cinema, focusing on emotional depth and character complexity, even if they are primarily designed for entertainment. Killers of the Flower Moon stands as a stark contrast, delving into historical events with somber reflection.
The average moviegoer is headed to the movies to have a good time. And if I was presented with this movie or something like Avengers Endgame to enjoy my evening with, I’d pick Endgame every time. That’s not to say one is better than the other, but I just have more fun watching superheroes do their thing.
Killers of the Flower Moon is undeniably a cinematic gem, offering a thought-provoking and emotionally charged narrative. If you have a penchant for award-worthy films and found Oppenheimer appealing, this might be the perfect cinematic journey for you. While it may not align with my personal cinematic preferences, I can’t help but admire the film’s many merits and its dedication to revealing a dark chapter of history.
Are you planning to witness Killers of the Flower Moon, or have you already ventured into this gripping narrative? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, and don’t forget to follow Heroic Review on your favorite social platform for more captivating reviews.