Greed is a bottomless well in “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Published 9:41 am Tuesday, November 28, 2023

This week at Tryon Theatre is a film that has been long awaited and eagerly anticipated, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” This film is the newest work of art from renowned director Martin Scorcese, who continues to prove himself a master of the cinematic form. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is an adaptation of a similarly titled 2017 non-fiction book by David Grann. In adapting the story, Scorcese paired with screenwriter Eric Roth, and together they created a compelling and emotionally sound vein of story throughout the historical foundation. 

The film’s leads are played by Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Deniro, and many other excellent character actors rounding out the large cast. Gladstone and DiCaprio in particular have received superlative praise from critics and audiences alike, with their performances being lauded as career bests. 

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a period piece, set in 1920s Oklahoma in the Osage Nation territories, where oil has newly been discovered. This produces great wealth for the Osage Nation, and draws ill-intended attention from financial interests back east. Like much of Scorcese’s work, the story of film is long and winding, with many layered developments throughout. One of the great pleasures of consuming his work is to let the narratives speak for themselves in their brilliant composition. 

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At the simplest take, “Killers of the Flower Moon” follows an interconnected trio of characters and their experiences, as the newly wealthy Osage Nation finds itself victim of mysterious murders amongst the tribespeople, the gravity of which goes far beyond the surface violence. The film also goes beyond the narrative threads in its appeal, providing a moment for insight into and appreciation of the Osage culture in that time, a rare cinematic opportunity.

In appreciating the tone and content of the film, one should prepare themselves for weight. The history informing this film is tragic and violent, and the film is no different. This a mature film for an audience interested in reckoning with humanity’s darkness, namely its insatiable greed. However, the heaviness of this film is not burdensome in the viewing experience. Scorcese is one of the best, and his direction is gripping and compelling throughout the entirety of the film’s lengthy runtime. Moreover, this film is a beautiful work of art; the commitment to the period production and the clarity of the cinematography make every frame a painting. 

Those that choose to undertake “Killers of the Flower Moon,” will be rewarded with the true experience of cinema. This film is surely to be nominated in multiple fields come Oscar season, for those determined to see all the nominated films. We hope you will share this compelling cinematic experience with us soon!