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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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“Killers Of The Flower Moon” Puts A Spotlight On The Horrors Of Genocide

At a whopping three and a half hours, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon sheds light on the true horror of the genocide and manipulation at the hands of the greedy white man. 

Taking a more empathetic approach towards a deceitful relationship fueled by American gluttony, the film is based off of the 2017 David Grann book about the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI.

While told from the perspective of oppressor Ernest Burkhart, a World War I veteran played by Leonardo DiCaprio, we are given a liberating story of love turned to murder. Ernest travels to Oklahoma to live with his uncle William King Hale (played by Robert DeNiro), who paints himself as a friend and ally to the Osage; however, he pushes him to pursue Mollie Kyle with oil in mind. Mollie, played by new face Lily Gladstone, a Osage whose family has oil headrights is at the heart of tragedy. 

Scorsese does a phenomenal job at focusing on the perspective of Ernest while still showing the abuse of the trust faced by Mollie. The focal point of the story being DiCaprio’s character adds a sense of much needed disturbance to truly tell the story. 

While not Scorcese’s typical violent gangster films, this film like his others explores the horror of corrupt men in power in American culture and succeeds at doing so. There is no sugarcoating and the villains of this story are brought to the forefront to expose their true nature which is something not only viewers but the Osage can appreciate. 

The representation and acknowledgement in this movie is what makes it such a respectable account of this piece of history. Not only is this seen in the whole overarching picture but in the characters and how they are conveyed. 

One thing Killers fails to do is show the drive behind Mollie’s ignorance, her draw to even entertain the perpetrator Ernest. Her story is all told in her eyes, the pain, the sadness but there’s nothing to back it up. Although the focus of the movie is to highlight the crimes committed, the inclusion of some background or insight into the life, and attraction that a Native American woman such as Mollie has to a white man. 

There is much to appreciate with all the varying emotions and manipulation between characters, the faces, the dialogue, its all sold very well and does its job at selling the story however the fault comes at the narrative. With one of the main character’s purpose and perspective not being fully told, she is seen as naive much like how Natives are portrayed in textbooks. 

Overall Killers of the Flower Moon is a great depiction of a historical gruesome tale and Scorsese does his best to capture all that he can. For something a few steps away from his genre the story is there and does its job which is to highlight the Osage murders and the bigger picture of genocide in America.

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