Killers Of The Flower Moon Review: Leonardo DiCaprio's Film Is An Astutely Crafted Complex Crime Saga

Killers Of The Flower Moon Review: Leonardo DiCaprio's Film Is An Astutely Crafted Complex Crime Saga

This disturbing story of corrupt men operating in plain sight sheds light on one of the worst genocides committed against Native Americans

Troy RibeiroUpdated: Thursday, October 26, 2023, 06:33 PM IST
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Title: Killers of the Flower Moon

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, Tantoo Cardinal, John Lithgow, Cara Jade Myers, Brendan Fraser,

Where: In Theatres near you

Rating: ****

This oeuvre by auteur Martin Scorsese is based on a true story inspired by the nonfiction book of the same name authored by David Grann.

This disturbing story of corrupt men operating in plain sight sheds light on one of the worst genocides committed against Native Americans.

Set between 1920 and 1926 in the oil-rich Osage land, the film vividly and unflinchingly portrays the gut-wrenching tragedy of the Osage people,  showcasing human greed, corruption, and selfishness. It is about two clans – the Osage people and White men, fighting for their versions of survival.

 Unlike the book, which unravels the narrative from the FBI procedural point of view, this script, just like every Scorsese film, unfolds from the perspective of the characters involved, characters with a deep internal struggle.

The story revolves around William King Hale (Robert De Niro), a cattle baron and political tycoon, his nephew Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), a World War I veteran who arrives in Osage County to work for his uncle, and Ernest’s wife Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone).

In the first scene between the uncle and the nephew, the two discuss everything from Ernest’s wartime experiences to the type of women he is attracted to, as well as the oil boom in the region. This scene sets the foundation of the film as it reveals a lot regarding who these two characters are, their relationship to one another, and their place in the world.

As the plot unravels, we find the narrative focusing on the naïve Ernest, who ends up falling in love and marrying Mollie (Lily Gladstone), a wealthy Osage woman, and his conflict between his love for Mollie and his devotion to his uncle’s nefarious plans.

These plans, however, result in several dead natives. This attracts the attention of FBI agent Tom White (Jesse Plemons), who leads an investigation that lands both uncle and nephew in big trouble.

DiCaprio portrays Ernest- a naive person with shades of grey, with aplomb. He truly loves his wife, Mollie, and he loves money too, making him pathetic and evil- at the same time, this makes it very difficult to empathise with his character.

Equally impressive is Robert De Niro as the suave but evil William Hale. He is sharp and in his best form, pretending to be an ally to both- the Osage and the white people in the area while working behind the scenes to line his pockets.

But the one who holds her own and steals the show is Lily Gladstone as Mollie. She is subtle and communicates a lot through her looks and demeanour.

In supporting roles are ace actors like Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser as Hale’s attorney, John Lithgow as the Prosecutor Peter Leaward, and Tantoo Cardinal as Mollie’s mother. They all stand out with their performances.

With a runtime of 206 minutes, the film does test your patience. The last act keeps you engrossed, and the denouement is certainly creative.

Overall, with ace production values, Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto’s brilliant camera work captures the era, locales, and performances to perfection, and Robbie Robertson’s haunting score, keeps you glued to the screen.

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