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Killers of The Flower Moon: A hugely disturbing story of American colonialism

This Martin Scorsese’s directorial might look too long but the end results are hugely satisfying.

By

Prabhatha Rigobertha

October 29, 2023

For those who are not aware Killers of The Flower Moon is based on a 2017 novel written by David Grann. The book and the movie is a recreation of the real life killings of Osage community who were in peaceful co-existence with white people. What drove these murders was immense greed of the white Americans. These crimes began after oil was discovered in their lands and Osages began to live a life of wealth.

Director Martin Scorsese and his technical team transports us to the 1920’s so much so that we feel we are actually living with Osages and their experiences.

Killers of The Flower Moon is mostly narrated from the perspective of two white men Ernest Buckhart (Leonardo Di Caprio) and William ‘Billy’ Hale (Robert De Niro). It is a story of how this uncle and nephew duo along with their extended kith and Klan plan to usurp the wealth of the Osages. They do this by marrying the daughter of the head of the Osage community and plotting the murders of her family members.

Robert De Niro, the veteran actor as expected delivers a master class in acting.

Killers of The Flower Moon is a film that grips you from the start. Martin Scorsese along with his technical team transports us to the 1920’s so much so that we feel we are actually living with Osages and their experiences. We feel immense pain to know how a particular community was targeted just because they had mineral rights over their land and became rich with the oil found there. 

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Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography is a major plus for the film. He does a brilliant job in capturing the visual tapestry and also the horror of the events through his lens.

Lily Gladstone more than holds her own opposite both Leonardo and Robert De Niro

The film is essentially dark in nature but having said that there are also moments which bring a smile to the viewers face. Most of these can be seen in the track between Leonardo Di Caprio and Mollie (Lily Gladstone) the woman he falls in love with. The way he flirts with her and their interactions in some parts of the first half are genuinely fun to watch.

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There is no denying that Ernest (Leonardo) is a major accomplice to his uncle in this horror but his love for Mollie is also genuine and we do see flashes of regret from him.

Leonardo Di Caprio delivers a fantastic performance

 

Leonardo Di Caprio delivers a fantastic performance in portraying the complexities of his character. Lily Gladstone more than holds her own opposite both Leonardo and Robert De Niro. The actress does an exceptional job in essaying the inner strength of Mollie. There are scenes where we see Mollie fighting to get justice for her killed family members while suffering with ill health.

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Robert De Niro’s character looks like he is doing a lot for the Osage community but deep down is a loathsome monster. The veteran actor as expected delivers a master class in acting; whether it is the scenes of showing mock concern for the killings or the ones where he terrorises Ernest with just a slight shift in his voice.

Of course in the end both of them are caught and put in jail for some years. Millie divorces him and marries another man from her community.

The film is an important reminder of American Colonisation at its worst and what the insanity of greed can do to fellow human beings.

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Prabhatha Rigobertha
Prabhatha Rigobertha
Rigobertha Prabhatha has been writing on movies, web series, books, etc. on social media platforms like Facebook for a few years. He has a YouTube channel "prabhathalovesmovies" in which he posts video reviews. "I have only two windows to my world - movies and books" reads it's tagline. He is a student of English literature and currently working as Content Writer at Pudami Publications based in Hyderabad.

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