There are few filmmakers these days where anything they release is an event. Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese are really some of the only filmmaker's you can pin this label on. Yet of these three, only Marty has a resume that has stretched into 7 decades of cinema and the quality of work has been astounding in each. Whether he's redefining the gangster film (Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed) or trying to push technology further (and someone would argue too soon) with The Irishman, Scorsese never rests on his laurels. So it shouldn't be a shocker that his latest, Killers of the Flower Moon, feels familiar while providing a riveting and heartbreaking story.
The story here is one I'd read up on when the film was announced but, after learning the atrocities, seemed like a story I'd rather not dive deep into. Because there's no denying how difficult the subject matter is here. The Osage people were murdered--entire families wiped out--all for oil and money. And even knowing that, it's still completely riveting during the near three-and-a-half hour runtime. In fact, most of the story seemed fairly obvious from the onset, yet it's all about the journey getting there. There's a great message of right and wrong and what you're willing to do against those you love.
The performances in Killers of the Flower Moon are top tier and are sure to be getting attention come Oscar season. Ernest Burkhart may just be DiCaprio's greatest performance ever as he is just complication on top of complication. The man is an absolute mess and his characters goes places that I wasn't expecting. I was frustrated and yet completely enthralled with Ernest's thought process. Then there's Robert De Niro who plays one of the most despicable humans ever shown on screen, William Hale. Nearly every word out of Hale's mouth is a manipulation and it makes him the moments when he's alone, the most intriguing as it's the one time where his true colors are shown. I love the small moments between both of these actors. It was great to see these all time greats (and Marty's primary muses) interacting on the big screen.
Lily Gladstone better clear a spot on her shelf because that Oscar is as good as hers. The things that Mollie Burkhart goes through will make your blood boil. She's so strong and doesn't deserve any of the terrible things that happen to her. What makes Gladstone's performance so great is how much she's able to convey in silence. She brings so much power to every line reading and presence to every scene she's in. She's a force of nature.
I can't say enough good things about this film. It's an emotional, heartwrenching experience that will really make you think about all the terrible atrocities committed in this country. Whether it's showing the aftermath of the Tulsa Massacre, or the complete lack of empathy when any Native shows up dead, it's hard not to see the parallels between these times and modern day society. Scorsese made the right decision to focus on the Osage People as they're really the core of the story.