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A retelling of America’s forgotten epidemic

A review of “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon” poster created by Osage artist and Nation Ambassador, Addie Roanhorse. PC: Addie Roanhorse

Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” released on Oct. 20, instantly sparking discourse. This film stands as Scorsese’s 27th feature-length film, joining the list as one of his longest, clocking in at 206 minutes.

The film takes place in Oklahoma during the early 1920s, outlining the Osage peoples’ claim to wealth due to their discovery of oil on their land. Scorsese centers the story around Ernest Burkhart, a white man portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio, and his romance with an Osage woman named Mollie Kyle, portrayed by Lily Gladstone. 

Through the examination of their relationship, Scorsese depicts the exploitation commonly executed in attempts to inherit the Osage peoples’ wealth.

Discourse surrounding the story 

One major concern surrounding the movie is the white perspective within the film along with the white storyteller behind the camera. Many indigenous people believed that this would have been a perfect opportunity to find a native director or writer to retell the exploitation of their people, and were disheartened by Scorsese’s control.

Others believed this was the perfect opportunity for the progression of Native American stories in Hollywood, and a great way to educate audiences. 

While still acknowledging these claims, it’s worth mentioning that Scorsese took this film incredibly seriously, making sure to include the Osage people throughout the entire process of the film. Scorsese filmed in Oklahoma alongside the Osage people, casted actual Osage residents as characters within the film, and even hired a language consultant to ensure an accurate portrayal of the language throughout the film.

It’s important to take into consideration all sides of the discourse following this film, and further expand your knowledge on the tragic history of the Osage Nation. No matter what Scorsese’s intentions were, it’s the Osage and native american peoples’ perspectives that are most important.

My Review

This film is absolutely incredible. It further outlines the putrid hate and exploitation that was constantly present throughout America’s history. In my opinion, the pacing of this movie is immaculate and really diluted the runtime.

Out of the three main performances ― DiCaprio, De Niro, and Gladstone ― by far Gladstone’s stuck with me the most. Gladstone herself is indigenous and grew up on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana, and has gladly utilized this opportunity to portray the history of other native men and women. If Gladstone isn’t nominated for best actress this year, the Oscars will be hearing from me!  There is no denying the raw talent she exudes throughout this film. Gladstone’s portrayal of both grief and love takes your breath away, stealing your heart scene after scene. 

I highly recommend you to go and see this movie in theaters. The film features traditional music and dances from Osage culture, and being able to experience these on the big screen emphasizes the beauty of both. If you aren’t willing to sit in a theater for four hours (which I don’t blame you for) there’s an alternative that still allows you to witness this tragic piece of history. Due to this being an Apple TV Original, the chances of it being added to Apple TV within the coming months are extremely high, so I urge you to watch it when it becomes available.

This film and “Oppenheimer” are without a doubt going to lead to a historic night at the Oscars. Each follows horrific events throughout America’s history, just years apart, depicting their lead men in vastly different ways. 

Scorsese does a breathtaking job exemplifying how cruel and monstrous hidden moments in America’s history can be and proves why these stories are so important. This film is just the start of diverse stories and actors receiving their long-awaited time in the spotlight.

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About the Contributor
Sasha Hulsey
Sasha Hulsey, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Sasha is currently a junior at Oakmont, and is in her second year of journalism. She is particularly interested in writing articles about movies, music, and just pop culture in general. News stories also interest her, but it really just depends on the topic. Outside of school she is either at the movie theater, working, or watching star trek. Sasha is excited for her future involvement in Norse Notes and hopes to continue her career in journalism.

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