Killers of the Flower Moon is a borderline masterpiece marred by its length

by Rollo Tomassi

Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is a cinematic triumph that weaves together history, crime, and a masterful performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Set in the 1920s, the film delves into the chilling Osage Indian murder investigation, uncovering a sinister conspiracy that serves as a dark chapter in American history. Despite its brilliance, the film’s chief drawback is its extended runtime, which may test the patience of some viewers.

With a nearly three-and-a-half-hour runtime, truth be told, I was dreading watching this film in a theatre. At home, it’s the type of movie that might take me a few days to get through, in the theatre, this feels like a long, long drive.

At the heart of this film is Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Ernest Burkhart, a complex character who finds himself at the nexus of the sinister plot. DiCaprio once again demonstrates why he is one of the finest actors of his generation. His portrayal of Burkhart is nothing short of incredible. With every nuanced expression, he immerses the audience into the character’s internal struggles, his loyalty to his community, and the moral dilemmas he faces as he becomes entangled in the unfolding tragedy.

DiCaprio’s performance is, in many ways, the emotional core of the film. He portrays a man who must navigate the treacherous waters of his own conscience, and the powerful forces at play in his community. The complexity and depth he brings to the character make Burkhart a character you sympathize with even as he becomes ensnared in a web of deceit and violence. It’s a tour de force that further solidifies DiCaprio’s status as one of the most exceptional actors of our time.

Another heavyweight performance is delivered by Robert De Niro as William Hale. De Niro, as of late, seems to be in way too many bad-to-worse comedies. It’s refreshing to see a fine return to the form that solidifies him as an acting legend.

Scorsese’s direction in “Killers of the Flower Moon” is nothing short of masterful, balancing out the performances. He brings a level of expertise to the project that elevates it to something nearing greatness. The film is visually stunning, with breathtaking cinematography that captures the grandeur of the Osage landscape and the creeping sense of dread that hangs over the characters. Scorsese’s attention to detail in recreating the 1920s era is impeccable, immersing the audience in a bygone time.

Scorsese’s skill in building tension and suspense is evident throughout the film. He knows precisely when to hold back and when to unleash the full force of the narrative. The slow, deliberate pacing allows the viewer to soak in the atmosphere and appreciate the intricate storytelling, building anticipation for the shocking revelations to come. This is where Scorsese truly shines, creating a narrative that is as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

However, the film’s primary drawback is its considerable length. At nearly three hours, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is undeniably a commitment. While the deliberate pacing serves the story well, it may test the patience of some viewers. The film’s extended duration may leave some feeling that certain scenes and subplots could have been condensed to maintain a tighter narrative. Despite the exceptional performances and Scorsese’s impeccable direction, the film’s length is a significant hurdle that may deter some potential audiences.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is nearly a cinematic masterpiece, driven by Leonardo DiCaprio’s incredible performance and Martin Scorsese’s direction. It is a film that immerses the audience in a dark chapter of American history while exploring the moral complexities of its characters.

Rollo’s Grade: B+