The student news site of Hereford High School

Hereford Harbinger

The student news site of Hereford High School

Hereford Harbinger

The student news site of Hereford High School

Hereford Harbinger

Scorsese’s new film highlights forgotten Native American history

Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is an unsettling three-and-a-half-hour film that merges drama, crime, romance, and mystery. Hailed as “Scorsese’s Masterpiece” by critics, the film, based on a 2017 nonfiction book by David Gramm, contains an all-star cast featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro. The story centers around the Osage Native Americans of Oklahoma who became some of the richest people in the world after oil was discovered on their land in the 1920s. Like many other white men at the time, Ernest Burkhart, the focus of the film, flocked to Osage County in search of wealth and married native woman Mollie Kyle. From the abundance of oil, Osage people now had sprawling towns, brand new cars and jewels, but when members of Mollie’s family and dozens of other Native Americans show up dead, suspicions arise. 

It’s no surprise that Scorsese knows how to build a world and tell a story. In “Killers of the Flower Moon”, he leaves behind his habitual setting of New York City for the stunning panoramic views and old-fashioned western towns of Oklahoma, locations that perfectly juxtapose the horrors that occur. 

DiCaprio and DeNiro’s portrayal of their characters are compelling performances, but it’s Lily Gladstone, playing Mollie, who carries the story. Her initial reserved demeanor brings a unique character to the film, but the terror of watching her people die pushes Gladstone’s performance over the edge. In one scene, the couple hears an explosion on their street after numerous Osage murders. Ernest informs his wife of the victim (her sister) and Mollie quickly descends into a state of anger and grief. Scenes like this, as well as graphic depictions of violence towards the Osage people force audiences to confront the tragedies that took place.

While the film is likely to be enjoyed by critics and film-buffs, it misses a few key points that are necessary to make it a success for all viewers. Information could have been revealed more intentionally and slowly to build suspense and engage audiences. Almost immediately after the movie begins, viewers have a reasonable understanding of who is behind the string of murders that “Killers of the Flower Moon” focuses on. The story continues for another hour or so after the perpetrator is officially revealed, which causes some important closing details to be lost out of slight boredom. 

Story continues below advertisement

With a run time of over three hours, “Killers of the Flower Moon” runs the risk of losing audiences,  already evident in the box office earnings of just $59.6 million, a disappointing outcome considering it had a budget of $200 million. With further editing, Scorsese could have created a more approachable film for the average moviegoer while maintaining the intensity and impact that makes the movie special. The current status of the film is a shame considering Hollywood has long ignored stories like the Osages’, ones that confront America’s treatment of Indigenous people and other marginalized groups. 

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a well-made film that sheds light on an important issue, but its

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Please make sure that your comment is polite, considerate, and does not use any vulgar or offensive language. We retain the right to delete/remove any comment we find in violation of this policy.
All Hereford Harbinger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *