Arts

Killers of the Flower Moon engagingly reveals little-known history

The epic western Killers of the Flower Moon, released in theaters in October 2023, is an impactful movie because the movie doesn’t adhere to the Western genre’s long-standing tradition of romanticizing the exploitation of indigenous people, land, and resources. In this story, it’s the “cowboys” who are the villains. 

The movie, which was written by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese and produced and directed by Scorsese, is based on the non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann.

Killers of the Flower Moon is set on the 1920s Osage reservation in Pawhuska Oklahoma. The film is about the deceptive nature of the relationship between Ernest Burkhart and his wife Mollie Kyle as Mollie attempts to save the Osage community from a spree of murders in the community. Little does she know that the murders are committed by her husband Ernest and his uncle William Hale to access the Osage people’s wealth. All the while Mollie is slowly being poisoned by her own husband Ernest.

I enjoyed this film because it taught me about a very interesting, dark, and shocking part of U.S. history that I think everyone should learn about. The events in the film are unsettling and sometimes graphic but this discomfort is what made Killers of the Flower Moon such a great film

I join many others in praising the film for its involvement of the Osage Nation in production as well as the performance of Lily Gladstone, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, who portrays Mollie Kyle in the film. For her performance, Gladstone has become the first Indigenous American to win a Golden Globe and an Oscar Nomination.

Others, however, have criticized the film for having Ernest be more of the main character as opposed to Mollie. I personally think that the film could have worked from either Ernest’s or Mollie’s perspective, but I do understand that by telling the story from the perspective of Ernest the movie runs the risk of sympathizing with him. I do not think this was an issue because of the horrific acts that he committed. Even if Mollie isn’t considered the lead of the film, Gladstone’s performance is what really made the film so powerful.

Killers of the Flower Moon is available to stream on January 12 2024 on Apple TV+ and Paramount Pictures. It is also available to purchase on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Fandango. 

I would recommend Killers of the Flower Moon to all viewers whether you are looking to learn more about U.S. history or want a good movie to watch. If you do enjoy the movie I would also highly recommend the book of the same name by David Grann.

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