Martin Scorsese’s 206-minute epic Killers of the Flower Moon received a standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last May. Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by journalist David Grann, the movie sheds light on the lesser-known story of murders committed against Native American members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma during the 1920s.
Where can you watch Killers of the Flower Moon in the UAE?
In typical Scorsese fashion, the film’s action takes place over several years, starting with Ernest Burkhart’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) return from fighting in WW1 to move in with his uncle, William “The King” Hale (Robert De Niro). Hale lives on a ranch on an Osage Nation Oklahoma reservation, where the discovery of oil in the ground granted the Osage people significant wealth.
While Hale acts like a benefactor and friend to the Osage, he secretly plots ways to get his grubby hands on their money. At first, his schemes involve getting Ernest and his brother Byron (Scott Shepherd) to rob Native Americans at gunpoint. He also instructs Ernest to seduce and eventually marry the wealthy Mollie (played by the excellent Lily Gladstone).
It soon becomes clear that Hale’s plans also involve murder. And he’s not above orchestrating the deaths of Mollie’s close family members, including her sisters Anna (Cara Jade Myers) and Reeta (JaNae Collins).
The mass killings of the Osage people were never investigated until the arrival of Tom White (Jesse Plemons). With aid from Prosecutor Peter Leaward (John Lithgow), the newly formed Bureau of Investigation (a precursor to the modern-day FBI) aims to get to the bottom of who’s behind the crimes and get justice for the victims.
Compelling crime drama
While this is a long movie, it’s hard to fault its pacing. There’s not much mystery as the film reveals its villains straight away. But watching the events unfold from the intimate perspective of Ernest’s relationship with Mollie makes for poignant viewing.
The film focuses on them and the genuine love they seem to have for each other, making Ernest’s actions in the second half even more infuriating. Because of how much she loves her husband, Mollie stays in denial about his involvement in the atrocities. He still commits those atrocities despite his love for Mollie.
Both De Niro and DiCaprio are excellent in their respective roles, but the film’s shining star has to be Lily Gladstone in her portrayal of a woman who is slowly realizing she’s losing trust in her husband. Gladstone has this ability to communicate her character’s thoughts and feelings without needing to say a word. Watching her perform as Mollie made me wish the film was told from her point of view rather than Ernerst’s.
Killers of the Flower Moon has a worthwhile story to tell about a time the Osage Nation refers to as The Reign of Terror, and it’s easy to see why. People were murdered one by one in Fairfax, Oklahoma for money and the local authorities were ignoring the issue. Scorsese’s efforts to give life to that particularly dark chapter in American history are admirable, especially as he involved members of the Osage nation in production, giving audiences an authentic view of that historical era.
Martin Scorsese may be one of the best auteurs ever to grace the silver screen. And Killers of the Flower Moon shows how, even as an octogenarian, the maestro can still use moving images to tell a compelling story.
What are other critics saying about Killers of the Flower Moon (Video Reviews):
Jeremy Jahns loved the movie, particularly the performances of the three main cast members.
Chris Stuckmann felt the film was very well-paced and described the performances as “stunning”
Austin Burke described Lily Gladstone as the “heart and soul of this film.”
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.