WNY News Now Movie Review: Killers of The Flower Moon

(WNY News Now) – In collaboration with the Lakewood Cinema 8, it’s time for the newest WNY News Now movie review. This week’s review is on the latest Martin Scorsese film, Killers of The Flower Moon. For those unaware, the film is set in Oklahoma in the 1920s and focuses on the Osage Native American tribe, whose members became rich after the discovery of oil on their land. However, they soon find that their fortune is at the cost of a target being placed on their backs by those who want the mineral rights for themselves.

I thought Killers of The Flower Moon was an interesting film. The narrative was gripping, as you watch greed give birth to violence. The cast did a great job, especially the three leads of Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, and Robert DeNiro, who I thought gave fantastic performances. 

The set design was incredible and really gave the film an immersive feeling. It really felt like they took a camera and a time machine to film the movie in the 1920s.

And the film’s depiction of the treatment of Native Americans was executed perfectly, in my opinion. The film starts with adult Osage members grieving that their children will be forced to assimilate and lose touch with their heritage. And later on in the film, there’s a scene in which Lily Gladstone’s character looks around and sees that despite still living in their tribal community, her tribal family has been steadily replaced. It’s sobering to watch.

All in all, I think the movie did a fantastic job on a technical level. However, there were some creative decisions that I wasn’t fond of. The first thing, which I’m sure is the biggest issue people had, was the length. The film is 3 hours and 26 minutes long, which really makes it feel like a commitment to watch. And admittedly, I think that the film definitely could have been shorter. It’s a slow burn kind of film, but there was quite a bit where the pacing had all but come to a halt. If they had really trimmed off the fat, they probably could have gotten the runtime down to 2 and a half hours, which would have been much more feasible for people concerned about the length.

My second problem was with the dialogue. As I mentioned earlier, the film opens on Osage members lamenting their childrens’ future, and this is all spoken in their native language, with subtitles provided in English. However, for a large portion of the movie, no subtitles were provided whenever dialogue was said in that native language. That can make it somewhat frustrating, as you won’t know what exactly is being said, and have to rely on the actors nonverbal communication to figure out what they’re saying to each other. 

My last issue was with the ending of the film. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t discuss exactly what it was that I took issue with. All I’ll say is that the creative presentation behind it felt somewhat out of left field and didn’t really feel narratively satisfying for me, which was unfortunate after I had spent over 3 hours anticipating that narrative resolution. Once again, on a technical level, I don’t think that there was any problem with it, and I understand what they were trying to do with how they executed it. It just didn’t really resonate with me how they did it.

Ultimately, I thought Killers of The Flower Moon was a pretty good movie that served as a fantastic presentation of the treatment of Native Americans with a gripping narrative and fantastic cast, but with some rather distinct creative choices that might turn some viewers off. If you like what you hear, be sure to check out Killers of The Flower Moon while it is still in theaters at the Lakewood Cinema 8 on Fairmount Ave.

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