Killers of the Flower Moon Is a Bloody Tale of Greed and Murder (Review)

John Nguyen

In 1897 Oklahoma, an oil discovery brought wealth to the Osage Nation, quickly changing the lives of the Indigenous people and making them the richest people in the world per capita. With wealth came greed, and white settlers found ways to get a share of the money, leading to a series of murders of the Osage people.

Martin Scorsese directs Killers of the Flower Moon, a film based on the book of the same name following the Osage Nation murders in the 1920s. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart, who settles in Osage County in search of a new job thanks to his uncle William Hale (played by Robert De Niro), known as the “King of the Osage Hills.” Ernest meets and falls for Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), a wealthy Osage, but soon their lives will be affected by the mysterious murders terrorizing the neighborhood.

Scorcese hasn’t lost his touch, and he has crafted a lengthy film that captures the horror of the murders known as the Reign of Terror. The killings are quick and brutal, and paranoia can be felt as greed infiltrates the Osage people. The film covers the beginning of the oil discovery all the way until the federal investigation and the court cases. The long-running time is warranted to cover all the grounds. Scorsese and his team have conveyed the sneaky ways the greedy white settlers will infiltrate the Osage people, and it’s a slow burn that will make you sick to your stomach as characters gaslight, steal, and cheat.

The Cast

DiCaprio and Gladstone are the leads with the former having more to do as he navigates the world of greed seeped inside Osage Nation. He plays a very flawed man, and at this pace, I’m excited to see more of his performances as despicable characters who can still be charming. Gladstone is the glue that brings all the elements together since Mollie is connected to the deaths surrounding her.

The cast includes all types of characters from the Osage people to the government officials. Jesse Plemons portrays Tom White, a BOI agent with a calm demeanor; Brendan Frasier is bombastic as W. S. Hamilton, a lawyer; Tantoo Cardinal is Lizzie Q, Mollie’s mother who has a distrust of strangers; Cara Jade Myers is Anna Brown, Mollie’s sister who likes to drink; and more. Each character has their own personality, helping the plot move along.

Dolby Cinema

The film’s $200 million budget can be seen with the filming location in Oklahoma, the set design, costumes, and more to bring the world of 1920s Osage Nation to life. I was able to catch the film in Dolby Cinema at the Dolby Theatre, and it was an engaging experience since I was very focused on the story and characters. Killers of the Flower Moon is a period film set in Oklahoma, so the colors won’t be as vibrant. There are plenty of dark scenes, and the details aren’t lost thanks to Dolby Vision. During the wedding scene with Mollie and Ernest, the details and colors on Mollie’s dress stood out, showcasing its beautiful design.

The Dolby Atmos surround sound helps enhance the movie-going experience. The film contains lots of dialogue, and it’s clear and audible. The sound is put to the test, especially during a scene involving an explosion that is loud and sudden. A stormy night scene with Mollie and Ernest at the dining table was effective with its ambiance through a window and surround sound.

Final Reaction

Killers of the Flower Moon is another feat of filmmaking from Scorsese, and Gladstone and DiCaprio have turned in superb performances, representing the two different sides. The rest of the cast is exceptional, and the cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto and the set design help to bring viewers into a dark period of time in a historical Oklahoma.

Killers of the Flower Moon releases in theaters on October 20, 2023. It will debut on Apple TV+ at a later date and will incorporate Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

For the best movie-going experience, viewers can also experience Killers of the Flower Moon at their local Dolby Cinema when it releases in theaters on Oct. 20. To find the closest Dolby Cinema near you, click here.