By Amanda Gilmore
Director Martin Scorsese is back with the ’20s set Killers of the Flower Moon. The story, adapted from the true story and novel by David Grann, focuses on members of the Osage Native American tribe of Osage County, Oklahoma. During the ‘20s, oil was found on the tribe’s land. It gave them wealth but also made them a target. Soon after discovering the oil, White people flocked to Osage Country in search of wealth. William Hale (Robert De Niro) was one of the first ones there. He built a strong foundation with the tribe and is considered a comrade. When Hale’s nephew Ernest (Leonardo DiCaprio) comes back from the war he returns to Hale’s home. Before long, Ernest has become smitten with wealthy Osage Mollie (Lily Gladstone). Once Hale gets word he lets it slip that if Ernest were to marry Mollie he would inherit all her money when she dies.
No one does it like Scorsese. The celebrated Filmmaker has managed to make the 3 1/2-hour runtime breezes by. This is thanks to his meticulous pacing, the engrossing story and the powerhouse performances. None more so than Gladstone whose surrounded by two heavyweights in the industry yet commands our attention. She’s truly a force to be reckoned with.
Killers of the Flower Moon shines the spotlight on the atrocities that happened to the Osage tribe by white people. Hale is the ringleader of the heinous acts inflicted on the Osage people. De Niro is in top form as the greedy, savage man who’ll stop at nothing for wealth. It’s impossible to think that anyone could pull off this role other than him. He’s our entry into the corrupt system that was at play by White people against the Osage tribe.
Screenwriters Scorsese and Eric Roth expose the system that aids in the crimes Hale orders. That system includes doctors, insurance brokers and more who work together to inflict and keep horrendous acts secret. Hale was a master manipulator, even to his own Nephew. Upon first introduction, it’s obvious that Ernest is gullible, slightly daft and money-obsessed. DiCaprio is a powerhouse that delivers a character that has the ability to manipulate himself and the audience.
The Film might be set in the ‘20s, however, there is a direct correlation to today, most prominently with the missing and murdered Indigenous women. Hale’s acts are leading to the deaths of the Osage people but no one investigates. As expected, Scorsese doesn’t shy away from the brutality inflicted on the Osage people. One scene shows Mollie’s deceased sister Anna’s body being cut up by doctors, who claim that was part of their examination, in front of the public.
Killers of the Flower Moon is a Film that rarely gets made. Scorsese deserves credit for giving a voice to the Osage tribe and showing the atrocities that happened to them. It’s an important Film that will change minds, open hearts and hopefully will make people want to fight for the heinous injustices still being committed against Indigenous peoples across the world.
Killers of the Flower Moon screens at Cannes ’23:
Say May 20 at 7PM at GRAND THÉÂTRE LUMIÈRE
For advertising opportunites please contact firstname.lastname@example.org