Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)

Crime/Drama/True Story
Rated 15
In Cinemas
Spoiler Free

I am about to become that guy, the guy who says “well I’ve read the book and actually the film doesn’t compare”. Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon does not compare to David Grann’s book, it does not compare at all. Scorsese's three and a half hour latest would be ten, turgid hours long if he’d tried to cover all of the detail in Grann’s exceptionally researched writing about a real life series of murders of Osage Native Americans in the 1920’s. That’s why you read books: they’re different to films.

Flipped that on you. Criss cross.

Look at Let the Right One In, a mammoth, horror, page turner with depth in every word, but a film with such subtle nuance it annoyed the piss out of me the first time I saw it. The book doesn’t compare. But I don’t care now, they serve different purposes. However in the three and a half hours Killers of the Flower Moon runs, even my brother could drunkenly thumb his way through a Mills and Boon hand me down with half the pages because all the good bits were stuck.

My throbbing urge to see Scorsese’s cinematic take, swelling with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons and Brendan Fraser who contrary to my claim that he was just in a fatsuit in The Whale, wasn’t. He had clearly just eaten one. The acting is exemplary. Robert De Niro is in serious form. Understated but in the way where you think, ooh, this is cleverly understated.

DiCaprio has fake teeth and does a great impression of Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone, if he’d been kicked by a mule in his soft, childlike head. His cotton cheeked character is complex, and the centerpiece of the story. Of course Leo nails it because he nails everyone everything. Gladstone is stoically subtle; her performance keystones the film, making it what it is.

Killers of the Flower Moon’s story is madness, pure carnage allowed to unfold because of the racism of the time. Theft, murder, greed and manipulation make for an engrossing narrative but it is a slow film which slightly stunts its enjoyment. I didn’t love Scorsese's The Irishman as much as anticipated because of a mixture of its unconvincing and disconcerting CGI, and the bum numbing run time. By contrast, Oppenheimer didn’t feel its length (quiet at the back) but while Killers of the Flower Moon drags a bit, it is a great watch.

Bedsit it?

Even knowing the story, I enjoyed Martin Scorsese's angle on a wicked, wicked series of events; it’s a sinister conspiracy told from the inside out. If you haven't read the book, perhaps you’ll score Killers of the Flower Moon higher than me, but I highly suggest you see it. 8/10

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