Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Jack Bottomley
Media Correspondent
1:00 AM 25th November 2023

Film: Killers Of The Flower Moon

Every time a new film arrives in cinemas it can be an event of many differing descriptions, feelings and definitions. Although, seeing a new Martin Scorsese film released is an event that is in a category all of its own, and once again, one of the very greatest filmmakers to ever live has delivered something truly special.

Adapted from David Grann’s 2017 book ‘Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI’, and of course the true story of the 1920s Oklahoma Osage murders that inspired it, Scorsese’s film would be a valuable work by simply existing. Simply by telling this story. However, it is made more valuable still, in the manner with which it does so.

The story sees Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) returning from World War I to live with his uncle William Hale (Robert De Niro) on his ranch, where he shares a close connection to the Osage people, who live in the area. He suggests Ernest seek out a relationship with Mollie (Lily Gladstone), a young Osage woman whose family owns oil headrights on the oil-rich land.

Deaths have already happened, passed off as unexplained and thus uninvestigated, but soon begins a series of escalating murders that sees a greedy play for power, where love and family literally die in the face of wealth and control.

Killers of the Flower Moon is a searing three plus hour wonder from Martin Scorsese, a true life inspired crime thriller, by way of a western, by way of an eventual courtroom drama. A towering testament to a story of American injustice, success taken, and culture(s) mistreated and histories buried.

This history, thankfully exhumed and shown in all its breathtaking power, is one of heartbreaking loss and excruciating rage. For so many people, this film will be like a damning document of a shameful American sin, for many others it will be an emotionally dark but crucial telling of a very real horror story, but for all viewers it is an essential and powerful piece of film.

Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are all awards season shoe-ins for their exemplary work here, as their differing characters and moral make up combine to create a movie and story that has you in absolute awe of what is taking place, and who the players involved are, or rather were.

Truth be told, there is not a single bad performance within this varied tapestry of artists. From Cara Jade Myers’ excellent supporting performance as Mollie’s first sister Anna, to Brendan Fraser’s later appearance as a vocal and loud attorney in a performance perfect for the part being played.

There are so many supporting turns that stand out here and so many moments that come to life, be it through the power of the performance or the history, or a fiery combination of the two. Even Marty himself turns up in a uniquely framed and rather upsetting closing summary of the story he has adapted for the screen.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, Scorsese shows no signs of his filmmaking powers diminishing, quite the opposite, and the master has crafted another career milestone achievement in this epic, that is as thematically expansive as it is aesthetically. The cinematography from Rodrigo Prieto practically leaps from the big screen and takes you into the era, the violence and the struggle.

Scorsese and Eric Roth’s screenplay and the characters it brings back to life, create a motion picture that you'll never forget experiencing in the cinema. And Apple Studios deserve applause for allowing gifted and magnificent creators the funds and space to have their abilities and work displayed in the most grand and powerful of forms.

Absorbing from beginning to end. This one will live forever, as it should. Astonishingly powerful.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Robert De Niro
Release Date: Out Now (Cinemas)