Go see Killers of the Flower Moon if, for no other reason, than it's important to know the dark side of our country's history, especially in our treatment of Native Americans. It starts with oil on an Indian reservation. Oil, yes, as in fool's gold, and some white men arriving and contriving to gain control and ownership of the oil by marrying four Native American women and then killing them to gain ownership of their share of the land. Enter our amazing Mollie Burkhart, a member of the Osage Nation, who tries to save her community from the murders fueled by oil and greed. Her husband? Why, Leonardo DiCaprio, of course, who pairs with Robert De Niro (his best work in years) to star in the tale of more than sixty people being murdered before the FBI finally shows up to unravel the plan.
It's three and a half hours. Yes, but Oppenheimer was almost as long, and Titanic came in at three hours and fifteen minutes, and we sat through those, sometimes more than once. It shouldn't be that long; it's a failing of Scorsese that he can't tell a story and edit his narrative, like your Uncle Fred will do at Thanksgiving when he tells you about the flat tire he had last week. But if you get some popcorn and a soda, you will be fine; it's not a reason to avoid the film.
Lily Gladstone makes her debut as Mollie Burkhart, and she has said in interview after interview that Mollie was such an important woman of history, that she was anxious to get her right - to do her justice. She does. She nails the role, and we can only hope we see her again and again in the future. She owns the room when she's on camera, which is a combination of the excellent writing, the richness of the person, and Lily's approach to playing her quietly.
Might I say that I think the story would have been better told from Mollie's point of view rather than Burkhart? My counterpart in Screen Thoughts brought it up on our podcast, and she is right. But Scorsese would never make a film from a female perspective. I don't believe he's all that comfortable with women's points of view, and it's not surprising he took the road more traveled when he decided to go the way he did. No matter. Mollie will slay you. You will leave the theater with her in mind.
Take someone with you when you see Killers of the Flower Moon. You are going to need to talk about it afterward. The film was made from the book by the same name by David Grann. I'm told it's well worth the read and has so much to offer.
--Christine Merser aka Hollister