“I mean, there might be a public outcry for a while. But then you know what happens? People forget. They don’t remember. They don’t care. They just don’t care. It’s just gonna be another everyday, common tragedy.”
That one line, spoken by Robert De Niro’s William King Hale to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart basically encapsulates this stylistic, haunting, and wholly demoralizing historical drama about the Osage Tribe being cheated out of their oil wealth and murdered. Forrest Miller, Conan Neutron, J. Andrew World, and Kristina Oakes are joined by friend of the show Karthik Puru to kick off Movie Night Extravaganza’s Oscar 2023 month with Martin Scorcese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
A winding, serpentine, epic but subdued tale of greed, misery and corruption of the human soul. A slow burn of evil sociopathy. The endless crimes done against native people in the US are discussed more these days, but they are STILL not culturally known. Martin Scorsese horrifies here with this forgotten story of American History that’s haunted by such an evil specter throughout it. Osage Women and Men are slaughtered, shot, poisoned, sickened and whatever other means of disposal that greedy (white, largely) oil workers can think of after being married off, or had an insurance claim taken out on them.
The indigenous body, often fattened with sugar and liquor they are not used to, and too often disposed of in some truly horrific ways is used by Scorsese to symbolically represent the helplessness and futility of the Osage’s plight.
We are VERY impressed with Lily Gladstone’s performance, the talent that she displays here would work in any era of film including silent. extremely quiet and dignified but constantly grieving performance that goes through so many emotional transformations and yet bares it so elegantly. We think this is her year for the Oscar. It also might be her year to join up with Karthik for the proposed rom com. Dots and Feathers.
The film never loses focus, but the pacing is the slowest burn of escalation. Overall it is a really well done rumination on the slow creep toward criminality and atrocity. Worthwhile art and an important message.
The runtime is a problem here for this gangster western for some of us, and the idea that prestige means 3+ hours now should be totally alarming. Perhaps this story would have greater cultural cache and influence amongst the people that need to see it most if it had been in the popular prestige streaming series format? That said: the filmmaking craft here is phenomenal. Just one of the masters of the form at the top of his game. Hard to argue with.
Less of an issue now that it is streaming, but once again we say: BRING BACK INTERMISSIONS!
Great soundtrack, and some of the best casting I’ve seen since… well, Oppenheimer!
Also: How long did Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DiNiro work to have the same scowl?
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