“Flower Moon” is an accurate rendering of the Osage Murders but not Scorsese’s best
Martin Scorsese is, for my money, one of the greatest living filmmakers of our era. While he is well loved for classic films such as “Goodfellas” or “Taxi Driver,” he’s a far more versatile filmmaker than some give him credit for. He’s made his share of gangster films, religious epics such as “Silence” and “The Last Temptation of Christ,” and historical dramas such as “Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator.” But with “Killers,” he comes back to the crime genre that he’s so intimately familiar with. “Killers of The Flower Moon” seems like a film that Scorsese would excel with. He brings us a tragic crime drama about how greed can infect people and cause them to destroy everyone around them. Scorsese excels at these types of stories.
Even so, I wouldn’t put it alongside Scorsese’s best. Though a sincere effort, there was something missing. When I left the theater, one of my first thoughts was that this should have been a series. Though three and a half hours long, it felt like this movie didn’t capture all that had made the book such a compelling read. I was particularly disappointed with the minimal characterization of Tom White (played by Jesse Plemons) who I found to be the most compelling character in the book. But with what we got, Plemons once again proves to be one of the most dynamic actors working today. I was also disappointed with how I didn’t feel the emotion of what was going on. Despite the strong performances, I didn’t see Scorsese pulling out the emotion in the way that he did with “The Irishman” or some of his best films.
However, in the filmmaking, not all was bleak. This film still has the trademarks of a Scorsese film. One of Scorsese’s biggest strengths as a filmmaker is how he manages to capture mundane, daily life. His films have a way where the people who are in them, no matter how foul or bad they are, seem real and could be like people who you would meet in your life. Leonardo DiCaprio once again proves why he’s one of the best actors of his generation with his performance as Ernest Burkhart. He proves to be both pitiful and despicable in his role as Ernest. Robert De Niro once again proves to be Scorsese’s good luck charm as he plays William “King” Hall, who proves to be a despicable human being despite his affable nature. There were points where I was confused, since I already knew he was the villain of the story, and there were points where he was so nice and charming that you forget that he’s the villain. Lily Gladstone is also fantastic as Mollie Burkhart. She carries herself with a quiet dignity, even as all these horrible things happen to her.
The cinematography holds its place as well. Scorsese and the crew make Oklahoma look beautiful and maintain accuracy with the portrayal of the crimes. There’s also the excellent score from the late Robbie Robertson, which is elegant while capturing the heavy vibe with guitar. I wouldn’t call “Killers of The Flower Moon” one of Scorsese’s best. But it’s still pretty good.