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Movie Review: “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

By Jay Li Nov. 9, 2023

The Oklahoma Osage murders of the 1920s represent the harrowing struggles of indigenous communities that remain overlooked in historical discussions. This is why Martin Scorese’s magnum opus “Killers of the Flower Moon'' is so significant. By displaying an unfiltered retelling of this true story rife with corruption, tragedy and injustice, the film illuminates a dark and bloody chapter of early American history from the perspective of the Osage community. Despite a three-and-a-half-hour runtime, its effective pacing and suspense made the film pass in an instant.

“Killer of the Flower Moon” opens with the discovery of huge oil deposits on the Osage reservation, which endowed the tribe with extravagant wealth—attracting the attention of crime boss William Hale, played by Robert De Niro. Hale masquerades as a friendly benefactor of the Osage people yet conspires to assassinate their leaders to steal their lucrative oil rights. He plans for his nephew—Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart—to marry into a wealthy Osage family through daughter Mollie Kyle, played by Lily Gladstone.

Yet, when Burkhart genuinely falls in love with Mollie, the movie shifts to focus on their twisted romance; caught between his love for his wife and his uncle’s greed, DiCaprio’s exceptional performance highlights Burkhart's internal conflict.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is one of the most impactful movies I have ever seen. DeNiro’s ruthless performance highlights the Osage’s heartless slaughter; in stark contrast, Gladstone’s innocent and sympathetic performance captures the great tragedy endured by her people. However, the emotional core of the film—Burkhart and Mollie’s relationship—defines the film, centering a deeply human romance amidst the conspiracy and betrayal that ultimately destroys it.

While Native American stories are rarely explored on the silver screen, the ensemble cast and legendary director at the helm transformed this story of historical injustice into one of the most profoundly unforgettable movie-going experiences I ever had.


About the contributors

Jay Li

staff writer

Jay Li is a junior at Leland High school and the Opinions Page Editor for the Charger Account. During his free time, he enjoys playing game pigeon and hanging out with his friends and family.

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