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Killers Of The Flower Moon Review

Killers Of The Flower Moon Review

Luke’s review –

On Friday, October 20th, Martin Scorcese released his 27th feature film, Killers of The Flower Moon. The hotly anticipated release follows the true story of a series of wealth-inspired murders in a Native American tribe during the 1920s. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Robert DeNiro, and Jesse Plemons.

Much has been made of the movie’s 3 ½ hour runtime, with many saying the length is detrimental to the film. Scorcese is no stranger to making longer films, with all three of his most recent feature films (Silence, The Irishmen, and Killers of The Flower Moon) approaching or eclipsing the 3-hour mark. Although you certainly feel the runtime in the theater, it is still expertly paced. There are almost no scenes that run on too long, with a precise amount of information being given to the audience at very specific moments. Not all of the scenes are entirely crucial to the plot, but they are all extremely high quality. 

The breakout performance of Killer’s of The Flower Moon is Lily Gladstone’s expert portrayal of Mollie Burkhart. Her role is crucial to the structure of the movie. If she had performed anything less than masterfully, Killers of The Flower Moon would be a significantly worse movie. Gladstone displays an impressive and believable range of stoic silence, quiet grief, and justified fear and anger. DeNiro also had a standout performance, excelling in his role of near pure evil: William Hale. He plays Hale as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, which only adds to the character’s menace. Part of what makes him such a frightening character is how well liked he is at the beginning of the story, and DeNiro really sells that aspect of the character. DiCaprio had the most hyped up performance, but I left the theater a little underwhelmed. There was nothing wrong with his portrayal of Ernest Burkhart, but there was nothing that stood out much either. I expected a little more out of one of the most highly regarded working actors. 

The writing is consistently great throughout, save for one moment(or lack of a moment) towards the end. The movie is surprisingly funny, considering the subject matter. Although the majority of the movie is somber and mournful, there were several moments where my whole theater erupted in laughter. Ironically, although the movie is most criticized for its bloated runtime, my biggest issue was actually that I thought it was missing a scene. Staying spoiler free, one character is deceiving the other for almost the entire movie, and we are never shown how finding out the truth affects them. Overall, the vast majority of the movie is very well written, but this one omission is fairly glaring in my opinion, almost to the point where this character’s arc seems to not reach a natural conclusion.

Killers of The Flower Moon is a very solid, quality film, and a worthy addition to Martin Scorcese’s legendary filmography. Despite its positive critical reception, it is certainly not a crowd pleaser. Due to its length and subject matter, I wouldn’t expect it to compete with a juggernaut like Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour at the box office.

Angus’s Review –

Marty is back, with his new adaptation of the David Grann book Killers Of The Flower Moon. I have loved David Grann as a writer with one of my favorite books of all time being The Lost City of Z. Grann is fascinated by white imperialism and our colonial roots. Scorsese is even more interested in this greed and capturing it in his new adaptation of Grann’s bestselling novel. 

To understand the length of the film we first have to understand the film’s setup. The murder and robbery of the Osage nation wasn’t overnight. It’s not something you can condense into a 90-minute movie or a seven-part Netflix series. In order for this tragedy to be fully emphasized, its three-hour runtime is perfect. If that’s not for you, this movie’s not for you. But if you do decide to watch this American slow burn you might be in for a surprise.

Set in blazing Oklahoma, Killers of The Flower Moon truly is sprawling. A journey that tears you from the inside and is one of the most important films of the year. A true American director making a deep drama on the bloody greed of our past is not something you see every day. It’s important that Scorsese uses his power in this way, and it all comes down to his audience. Seeing the film in a theater really puts his audience into a perspective that’s hard to replicate through home television. Sitting through these brutal and slow murders of innocent people reminds white European-descending Americans of their past. People need to see the darkness and cruelty Native Americans and the Osage nation underwent across America’s dark history. Maybe the message will get across, maybe it won’t, but it will spread something.

While Scorsese’s longer movies have not always been my favorite, Killers of The Flower Moon is special. Seeing an aging director make a movie with such modern themes, is great. I don’t consider him to be the greatest of all time, but I think what he’s done for the film community is better than any working director.

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About the Contributor
Luke Rapallo, Staff Writer
Luke is a junior who is excited to start his third year on The Voice. He enjoys politics, movies, football, and basketball. He is very interested in writing and studying the art of making films. He hopes to one day work in that field. He has been attending SSSAS since sixth grade and is excited to continue writing for The Voice.

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