The family ventured out recently to see the movie, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” This movie is based on the best-selling book by David Grann, and it tells the story of the Osage Nation murders in 1920s Oklahoma. Martin Scorsese directed it and the two star actors are Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro,
The movie exposes a dark side of the America, as the Osage people in northeast Oklahoma, became the richest in the world after oil was discovered on their land, only to be targeted by a ruthless conspiracy that killed dozens of them. The movie follows Ernest Burkhart (DiCaprio), a World War I veteran who marries Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), an Osage woman, and becomes involved in the plot orchestrated by his uncle William Hale (De Niro), a powerful rancher and businessman. The movie also features Jesse Plemons as Tom White, an FBI agent who leads the investigation into the murders, and tries to uncover the truth behind Hale’s scheme.
Lily Gladstone really brings a lot of presence to the movie. She doesn’t really say much but she sees and hears everything. De Niro plays the hapless Ernest who has no foundation nor rudder. He just does what his uncle tells him to do, even helping with the murders of his wife’s family members despite loving his wife. De Niro’s, William Hale, is the ultimate master manipulator who pulls levers behind the scenes to concentrate money into his family.
From what I have read Scorsese initial thoughts were to make the movie into an FBI story as this was the FBI’s first ever investigation but the Osage Tribe prevailed upon him to make the tribe and the members of the tribe the focus of the movie.
The movie is visually beautiful captures the beauty and horror of the Osage Nation. The movie also pays tribute to the Osage culture and history, and highlights their resilience and courage in the face of injustice. The movie has a story to tell and it plods along telling the story for about three and half hours. I love the movie but I think it is overlong for many people.
Killers of the Flower Moon is a movie that will make you think, feel, and learn about a tragic chapter of American history that deserves to be remembered.
I feel very invested in the story. I read the book and attended it’s release here in Tulsa. It was electric. David Grann spoke about the book and in the audience there were Osage Tribe members who were descendants of some of the people that Grann wrote about. I thought Grann’s attitude was interesting many people in the audience thanked him for writing the book and getting the story out. That didn’t phase him too much. He’s a reporter, he just told the story with the facts that he found out after years or interviewing people and doing research in the national archives.
The movie took a long time to come together, film, and edit. In June 2021 they were shooting on location in Pawhuska in Osage County so son Logan and I had to go check it out.
They had taken over several blocks of the downtown area and put new windows in the stores, old time electric poles on the sidewalks and covered the streets with dirt.
They weren’t filming so they opened the barriers and let people take photos from both ends of the street. It was pretty cool.
They also filmed in other areas like the Lost City Trails of Chandler Park in Tulsa. During a tour of the area I was on one of the County Parks people told me that there was a huge crew filming, lots of people and the first thing they did was power wash all the graffiti off the walls of the canyons. He was very complementary of them. When they left there was no trace of them they had cleaned up after themselves so well.
I recognized several scenes shot in Tulsa’s downtown art deco buildings with ornate interiors.
So overall I give the movie five stars out of five. Yes, it does plod along at times and yes there is probably a good two and half hour movie in the footage they shot but I loved the movie as is.