‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ excels despite long run-time

Martin Scorsese has done it again, this time with crime drama “Killers of the Flower Moon.” With a star-studded ensemble of Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons along with appearances from Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow, plus incredible cinematography, there is not much to complain about.

The cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto, who previously worked on blockbuster films like “Barbie” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” was phenomenal. Using newly modified Panavision T Series lenses, he was able to achieve a look that is visually unique and encapsulates a time period of nearly 100 years ago. 

While I did very much enjoy this film, it did lose a star due to the ending.

Certain shots have not left my mind since leaving the theater, with my favorites being a medium shot of the landscape as members of the Osage Nation dance in spewing oil and a wide shot of silhouettes through fire.

What made this film so captivating for me, however, was Lily Gladstone’s extraordinary performance as Mollie Burkhart. With award winners DiCaprio and De Niro, I was not expecting anyone else to really stand out, but Gladstone was absolutely captivating.

Her portrayal of the hurt, confusion and helplessness felt by Burkhart and members of the Osage Nation was breathtaking. This movie was based on a 2017 novel of the same name written by journalist David Grann. As an avid reader and believer that books are better than movies, I can with full confidence say that Gladstone’s performance is the exception. 

DiCaprio also did a great job as Ernest Burkhart, playing him down right to the facial tick. In this film, in particular, he seemed to have dissolved more into this role than in previous ones. 

It was also great to see Plemons acting as someone other than the bad guy. While this character did maintain the same elusiveness as his prior roles, I think Plemons added an interesting touch to the performance. 

While I did very much enjoy this film, it did lose a star due to the ending. Without revealing too much, it was just unbelievably meta and felt like a waste of time. Scorsese could have ended it at so many different points before then, but chose to end it in an odd, uninteresting way.

I call it a waste of time because the only other problem I had with the movie was its run time. It is a three and a half hour film, and it definitely felt like it. If you are someone who can’t sit still for a long time, I do not recommend seeing this movie in theaters. 

At certain times, it was just very slow and dull, unlike “Oppenheimer,” which was also three hours long, but had me glued to the screen the entire time. 

This is strange for a director like Scorsese, who praises seeing films in the theater rather than on streaming platforms. While I thought each part of the film was important, aside from the ending, of course, I did find it especially long. I think that if you want people to come to the theater to see your movie, you have to make it a little shorter.

Even with its very long runtime, I do want to watch this movie again sometime soon. I hope to see some nominations come award season, especially for Gladstone.


4/5 Stars




Featured photo courtesy of @martinscorsese, Instagram