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Student news of The Woodlands High School

The Caledonian

The Student News Site of The Woodlands High School
Student news of The Woodlands High School

The Caledonian

“Killers of the Flower Moon”: A Brutal Telling of a Terrible Tragedy

Robert+De+Niro+and+Leonardo+DiCaprio+%28Courtesy+of+Apple+TV%29
Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio (Courtesy of Apple TV)

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is Martin Scorsese’s most recent film that follows the true story of the Osage murders during the 1920s in Oklahoma.

Scorsese’s goal for this film is stated blatantly in the film as a whole: To show the ugly reality of the murders and how little help there was to solve the cases.

After serving (as a cook) in WWI, Ernest Burkhart travels back home to live with his uncle William “King” Hale. King hatches a plan to marry into one of the richest Osage families in town to obtain the rights to their money and oil. Along the way comes injustice and destruction to the Osage people, forever leaving a dreadful mark on their history.

We see the likes of Osage member Mollie Kyle suffer through years of heartbreak and sickness. At the same time her husband Ernest thrives in greed and deteriorates in his moral turmoil.

“KOTFM” is brutal in nature, and it dares not to sugar code how bleak the events were. With around 150 Osage people killed for their oil rights, there is bound to be bloodshed on screen.

We see the success of King’s plan, yet we are often reminded of the consequences and the toll it takes on the Osage community. Martin Scorsese’s goal for this film is stated blatantly in the film as a whole: To show the ugly reality of the murders and how little help there was to solve the cases.

Viewers may find this type of realism disturbing, dark, and dreadful. However, there’s still a lot of deep character development that moves the story forward.

With so much to be shown, the runtime given is a whopping three hours and 26 minutes. It stands longer than many recent films like “The Batman”, “Avatar: The Way of Water”, and “Oppenheimer”.

It proves to be one of the few negatives of this film. I say this mostly from the perspective of someone who has read the book this film is based off of. There just happens to be a lot of exposition given in that time, which could have been tabled for an extended cut.

The runtime doesn’t ruin nor hurt the film in any way. This is just one negative buried by the many positives that “KOTFM” has to offer. That includes its stellar cast.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Ernest Burkhart, a very desperate man, torn by his greed and his love for his family. It’s a story that reminds me of other Scorcese films such as “Goodfellas” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”, another DiCaprio led film. It’s worth mentioning how well DiCaprio plays the role, so at the same time we’re reminded that this person is a lying, killing, greed-filled man. His flow bounces off his co-stars extremely well, particularly DeNiro and Lily Gladstone (Mollie Burkhart).

He portrays the vulnerability of being used and extorted by his uncle, as well as the deceptive nature he maintains in his marriage with Mollie. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see DiCaprio given an Oscar Nomination for his role, and the same goes for many of his co-stars.

As for Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone), we have a heart wrenching story of loss that spans through numerous years of murders and cover-ups. Gladstone is far from being on DiCaprio and DeNiro’s level of popularity, but she shines brightly in this film, holding her own against the likes of such reputable actors.

Burkhart herself is a woman full of loss, seeing as she lost her sisters, mother, and even a child during the events the movie covers. Gladstone is put through the ringer as an actress, and in such a believable performance too. The only let down was how constrained she was in the last hour and a half of the film, so we weren’t given much in the way of a performance around that point of the film. I won’t go into more details due to potential spoilers, although it is a true story.

Robert De Niro (William “King” Hale), is magnificent as ever. He has provided so many top notch roles in his career. It’s almost impossible to question his ability. I will say that this isn’t his greatest role ever (that would be “Heat”), but his range goes far. We can see him as a kind and concerned uncle to Ernest, and one scene later he’ll be an abusive, manipulating villain. There is one scene in particular where he is describing his viewpoint of the crimes, and it seems almost as if he doesn’t see what he’s doing as wrong. The performance is captivating, and brings out the worst in his character.

There were many other side characters that work so well in the movie, especially that of Jesse Plemons as Tom White. Then there are the celebrity appearances of two very notable actors, who will remain unnamed due to potential spoilers, but they too make the film that much greater.

It would be a crime to not mention how “KOTFM” captured such a realistic look for the time period. Between the clothes and the cars, the buildings and the dialogue, it is all very impressive. The atmosphere is tense in the film, yet it has room to breathe and allow characters to flow and develop.

The ending is very inventive and one of the most interesting I’ve ever seen. It’s the last driving factor in showing the real effect the murders had on the Osage people. I doubt someone would ever be able to replicate it, due to its originality and shock value as well.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a movie with thought and care put into it. In a month drowning with horror flicks and scares, “KOTFM” is a breath of fresh air for audiences. Audiences who would rather be challenged by a movie and think about its impact.

This is a movie worth watching in the theaters, but that’s if you don’t mind the long runtime. Otherwise, it’s best to watch it on Apple TV+.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, and Robert De Niro.

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Patrick Sammon, Editor
Patrick is a senior at TWHS.  He works as a head lifeguard for the Woodlands Township.  He loves to workout and write, most for just The Caledonian.  He has three older siblings and a 7 year old dog.
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