On Saturday, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Martin Scorsese’s gruesome epic about one of America’s favorite pastimes — mass murder — made its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Out of competition. This is Scorsese’s first film since Scorsese’s terrible screw-up at the event.After hours” presented in 1986, he won the award for Best Director. For this edition, she walked the red carpet with two stars who defined different parts of her career: Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Adapted from David Grann’s non-fiction bestseller of the same title – the screenplay was written by Scorsese and Eric Roth – the film chronicles the murders of several members of the oil rich in 1920s Oklahoma. Gran’s book is titled “The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” while the movie focuses primarily on what happened in Oklahoma. Young Bureau Chief J. Edgar Hoover’s name comes up, but often evokes the future of the agency, its power, scandals, and at the time DiCaprio played Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” (2011).
“Killers of the Flower Moon“There is shocking, sometimes crushingly sad, true crime The mystery is such that its bone-chilling details make it feel closer to a horror movie. While it focuses on a series of murders committed in the 1920s, Scorsese compellingly tells a larger story about power, Native Americans, and America. An important part of that story took place in the 1870s, when the U.S. government forced the Osage out of Kansas and into the Southwest. Another chapter was written decades later when oil was discovered on Osage land in present-day Oklahoma.
As DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhardt arrives by train in the Osage boomtown of Fairfax, oil derricks swarm across the bright green plains as far as the eye can see. Still wearing his tonal-colored toughboy uniform from the recently concluded war, Ernest has come to live with his uncle William Hale (Robert DeNiro) along with other relatives, including his brother (Scott Shepard). A rancher with owlish glasses and a pinched smile, the real Hale cultivated a close relationship with the local Native American people, making him “king of the Osage Mountains,” writes the Grann.
With crisp performances, soaring cameras and just enough history to anchor the story, Scorsese immerses you in the chaos of the region, which is abuzz with new money that some spend and others try to steal. The Osage held mineral rights to their land, which contained the largest oil deposits in the country, and they leased it to prospectors. By the early 20th century, Gran writes, every person on the tribal list began to receive money. The Osage became fabulously wealthy, and by 1923, he adds, “the tribe earned more than $30 million, the equivalent of $400 million today.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is organized around Hale and Ernest’s relationship with both A young Osage woman, Molly (Lily Gladstone), meets him as he takes a taxi around the townspeople. Like Fairfax, amid the crowds of people and frightened horses whose luxury autos race down the dirty main road, Ernest soon jumps in, frantic, all wild smiles and excited enthusiasm. He continues to bounce around – it’s as if he’s got more contact from wealth – and his energy changes after he meets Molly. They marry and have children, and find refuge in each other as the dead Osage begin to pile up.
Gladstone and DiCaprio are convincingly matched even though their characters have different vibes, personalities and physicalities. As she walks out, this quiet, reserved woman turns her face into an impassive mask and wraps a long traditional blanket around her, effectively encasing her body. With her beauty, poise, and sly Mona Lisa smile, Molly exerts a great gravitas on Ernest and the audience; You both blinked quickly. DiCaprio gets a lot of attention, but without Gladstone, the movie doesn’t have the same slow-building, soul-heavy emotional impact.
Ernest is a fascinating, prickly character, especially in Marvel’s age of humanity, and full of contradictions he never knew existed. DiCaprio’s performance is initially characterized by Ernest’s eagerness to please Hale — there’s humor and pathos in the humor and his cheating sweat — but grows quieter, more interior and subtly complex as the mystery deepens. The fact that Ernst frowns upon seeing him for the first time is suggestive, which becomes more significant when you realize that DiCaprio is mirroring De Niro’s famous face, drawing a visual line between the characters and the men who were Scorsese’s doubles. Movie stars.
I have more to say about “Killers of the Flower Moon” when it opens in US theaters in October.