Martin Scorsese is a filmmaker who needs no introduction, his career spanning multiple decades across a variety of genres. He's reached the period of his career where his legacy has streaming services bending over backwards to throw money at his projects - his last two clocking in at three-and-a-half hours each. Funny for a man known for championing the cinematic experience.

At the turn of the 20th century, oil brought a fortune to the Osage Nation, who became some of the richest people in the world overnight. The wealth of these Native Americans immediately attracted white interlopers, who manipulated, extorted and stole as much Osage money as they could before resorting to murder.
Let's get the elephant out of the room; the film's mammoth runtime. It flies by, even with Scorsese wanting to pack as much as he can into the story. His long time collaborator, Thelma Schoonmaker, works wonders in the editing department to keep the film's pace at a constant. It helps that it is such a compelling story, Scorsese along with Eric Roth writing an American epic laced with greed and etched in pain. The depiction of Native Americans losing their money and lives over jealousy and greed is a harrowing one, culminating in a poignant ending from Scorsese regarding these atrocities and the silence surrounding them.

Rodrigo Prieto showcases his range as a cinematographer after Barbie earlier in the year, Killers of the Flower Moon full of beautiful yet haunting imagery, those heat haze shots of the fire sure to be etched in my mind for some time. The score from Robbie Robertson, who sadly passed away earlier this year, added another element to the narrative with the subtle bass foreboding ominous situations, one after the other. Both the production and costume design are on the money as well, Scorsese once again wanting his film to immerse the audience in the era it's set.
Having mentioned the pain that flows through the narrative, nothing epitomises this more than Lily Gladstone's powerhouse performance as Mollie Burkhart, a Native American with an oil fortune. To say her character suffers is an understatement and Gladstone will have you reaching for the tissues, her performance evoking raw emotion throughout. It's been reported she will be pushed for Lead Actress which feels a bit of a risk as she's a shoe-in for Supporting Actress however, she's so good here it may not even matter.

Leonardo DiCaprio is obviously one hell of an actor, it would be easy to brush his performance off here as him just coasting through the film however, there's layers to his performance as Ernest Burkhart that make it much more complex than it seems. The love he has for Mollie clashes with the loyalty he has to his uncle, leading to an internal struggle that DiCaprio sells brilliantly. Robert De Niro, acting his age this time round as William King Hale, makes his mark on a story using manipulation towards his cause. It's great to see De Niro continue to work with Scorsese, even if the role isn't as demanding as previous in their collaborative relationship.
Killers of the Flower Moon is a tour-de-force of filmmaking from a master of his craft. This might sound a bit dramatic but the day we stop getting films from Martin Scorsese is the day a little piece of cinema might actually die.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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