Martin Scorsese Delivers Another Masterpiece in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

Ulises Duenas


Martin Scorsese is back directing another all-timer, Killers of the Flower Moon. The fact that this film is an incredibly engaging drama isn’t surprising, but what is a surprise is that it’s also a compelling romance. 


The plot centers on the murders of people in the Native American Osage Tribe in 1920s Oklahoma. After oil is discovered on their land, the Osage become victims of serial killings. Robert De Niro plays William Hale, who organizes the murder of the Osage people so that he can steal the money owed to them for the oil. Hale puts on a facade as a friend to the Osage and De Niro’s performance is so good that Hale becomes one of the most loatheable villains in film. His character is a greedy, two-faced manipulator with no regard for the Osage, and it makes for an extremely compelling character.



Another Scorsese favorite, Leonardo DiCaprio, plays Earnest Buckhart. Buckhart was a cook in World War I and William Hale’s nephew. Hale uses Buckhart to infiltrate the Osage by trying to win over Mollie Kyle, played by Lily Gladstone, who is a member of the Osage. This part of the plot comes off as slightly schlocky at first, but the actors’ performances really make it work. What makes this romance angle succeed is that Ernest and Mollie are both naive and used as pawns in a brutal plot. Ernest does have genuine feelings for Mollie and his inner conflict adds a lot to the film’s tension.

Even though this movie has a runtime of over 200 minutes, I wouldn’t say it’s too long. Even The Irishman had some scenes that could have been trimmed, but I wouldn’t subtract a single frame from this movie. That doesn’t mean that the runtime flies by either, because the heaviness and tragedy of the plot makes the film emotionally and mentally draining, in a good way. 



What I  disagree with in regards to what other critics have said is the belief that this film must be seen in theaters only and that anything else is a downgrade. Scorsese is a genius and the people he hires for cinematography and editing are masters in their own right. That being said, if you have a decent setup at home then it makes this gargantuan film easier to watch.


At some point during the film’s production, Scorsese made the decision that the film should focus more on the Osage people and went as far as to bring on actual members of the tribe as consultants. Even with that extra leap for authenticity, it could be argued that it doesn’t go far enough in accurately depicting what happened to a vulnerable and innocent people. It doesn’t harm the movie, though, since it’s a fantastic story that nails the execution so well that it’s hard to imagine this film being as good if drastic changes were made. 



Killers of the Flower Moon is such a good movie that it’s almost boring to review. There are only so many ways to praise every aspect of this film. It’s an American classic that will go down as one of the best period pieces since There Will Be Blood. It’s also written in a way that makes it relevant to modern events. I strongly recommend finding the time to watch it, whether in theaters or not.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


not popular
Bottom Slider: 
In Slider