Incluvie Foundation Gala - Learn More

'Killers of the Flower Moon'(2023): A Beautiful Tragedy

This captivating film can only be truly appreciated by seeing it firsthand. There are not enough words to describe the terrible beauty one experiences while watching it.

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)

4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) falls nothing short of a masterpiece. It is not within my personal experience to be completely captivated by a film for its entire 206 minute run time, but this film has made itself the exception. More often than not, films reaching over two and a half hours lose momentum and consequently viewers find themselves losing interest. Moon represents the unique case of keeping its audience engaged for its entirety while simultaneously foregoing excessive action and explicit romance. This is not to say that Moon does not dabble in shocking explosions or surprising murders, but it does so in such a tasteful way that it creates a flow of events that you can’t take your eyes off of. Cinema has moved into an age where every film includes implausible, over the top violence, graphic nudity or both and it is becoming overwhelmingly monotonous. Moon seems to be the first film in this genre to break that mold and prove that a good story and an excellent cast is all you need to keep your audience engaged.

Our main character, Ernest Burkhart is not a typical character that Leonardo DiCaprio plays. Ernest is slimy, cowardly, and childish but not in a way of being immature or throwing tantrums, but by being naive and easily manipulated. He is told what to do and does it, both to make sure that he stays in the good graces of his uncle, William Hale (Robert De Niro), but also because it is not within his capacity to do otherwise. When we are first introduced to Ernest, he speaks of how much he loves women and money and his goal to become wealthy. This goal of his definitely does not change when his uncle suggests he marry the reserved, beautiful, and uncoincidentally very rich Osage woman Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone). Believing it to be his own idea, Ernest complies, eventually winning over Mollie and marrying her. However, the true work he does for his uncle does not cease. He is happy to rob rich Osages for their jewelry then go home to his Osage wife and pretend to be a loving, doting husband while being the reason their people suffer. William Hale, being the most powerful man in town, uses his influence to keep the money flowing to his pockets. All of his sons, nephews, and trusted employees have married into a rich Osage family, making sure that once these women have been murdered their fortune remains in the hands of conniving men.  

This twisted, gut wrenching narrative is based on a true story of the crime raged on the Osages people in Oklahoma in the 1920s, and spares no detail of how poorly American Indians were treated from the result of capitalistic greed. The audience bears witness to the great lengths taken to achieve the goal of erasing the Osage from their own land, but also witnessing the agonizing grief family members suffered through. As we follow the narrative we are also following the emotional wreckage that real people experienced. It is almost hard to believe how much death and destruction one family could organize until a woman on her deathbed begged the president of the United States to help because there was no one else to ask. 

Not only is this a story about the injustices ravaged on an innocent people, but it is also a story about the incredible strength of women. Women were the greatest threat, were the hardest to defeat, and even then William Hale and his delinquents could not overcome the determination of a woman searching for justice and retribution. It only took one woman to save the livelihood of an entire town and to put the men responsible behind bars. It is a reminder that women today still hold that power and should not let others try to steal it from them.