Killers of the Flower Moon (KOTFM) is Martin Scorceses’s 27th feature film, his 6th film with Leonardo Dicaprio, and his 11th film with Robert De Niro. Guys like Scorcese, Dicaprio, and De Niro are some of the best in their field which makes anything they do together potentially gold. With a veteran director, established lead actors, a great cast, and a compelling story, the ingredients are all here for a fantastic film. However, Oppenheimer proves that you can have all of the right ingredients but wind up with just an okay film. What Oppenheimer and KOTFM have in common is that they’re both three and a half hours long and a director must bring his best work to justify that length of time.
KOTFM follows the Osage Indian tribe in the 1920’s shortly after discovering massive oil reserves on their land in Oklahoma. The allure of oil money leads to many murders and a desire for justice by the Osage indians. Dicaprio plays a World War I veteran, Ernest Burkhart, who goes to work for his uncle William Hale played by Robert De Niro. Ernest falls in love with one of the Osage women tied to the oil money and… shenanigans ensue.
Every actor and actress in this movie does a great job, there is not much more to say about it. The sets are awesome, it truly feels like what I imagine Oklahoma in the 1920’s would be. It is interesting seeing native americans portrayed as super wealthy during this time. There is a contrast between the expected negligence on behalf of the American government towards the murders and the fancy cars and clothes that the Osage are able to buy. When there are moments of social commentary it does not feel heavy handed. There are even a few N-word drops so Scorcese is not trying to make anyone feel comfortable. He is simply trying to tell a story that is accurate to the time period and he does a great job.
My only complaint with the movie is that it was fairly easy to determine who the murderer is. I wish Scorcese could have misdirected the audience but the murder is revealed fairly early on which leads me to believe the mystery was not the central draw of the film. Is KOTFM as good as say Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, or the Departed? I do not think so. However, it is a great film in its own right. If you like movies more than the average bear you should be able to handle the three and half hour run time but I do not recommend KOTFM for a first date.
You should go see this movie if:
You are tired of marvel movies.
You have an attention span longer than 45 seconds.