Martin Scorsese He depressed us recently when we remembered that he is already very old (80 years old) and that therefore he has little time left to shoot all the stories he wants to tell. The day will come when we will mourn his death, and it will seem that there is a before and after in the cinema, but in the meantime we are lucky to discover new works by this true living legend. And the best news is that ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is one of his most passionate films.
Scorsese’s return, four years after directing ‘The Irishman’ for Netflix, is enough of a claim to talk about one of the premieres of the year, but also here he returns to work with his two fetish actors, robert deniro (ten films together) and Leonardo Dicaprio (six). The actors had already coincided in two other films (‘Life of this boy’ and ‘Marvin’s room’) but here they work together for the first time under Scorsese’s orders in a feature film; Let’s remember that they already had a kind of essay in the advertising short ‘The Audition’ (2015).
‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ has been presented at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival out of competition, apparently at the director’s wish. Scorsese already won the Palme d’Or for ‘Taxi Driver’ and the award for best direction for ‘Jo, what a night!’ (‘After Hours’). Strangely, there was only one press session of his new film, and not in the biggest room at the event, so you can imagine the anxiety to get a ticket. I breathed a lot of relief when I finally sat down in one of Debussy’s uncomfortable seats.
One of our own in the west
His new job once again delves into the violent origins of the United States of America. This time he takes us to Oklahoma in the 20s of the last century to introduce us to the Osage Nation. Extremely wealthy thanks to oil, this upper class of Native Americans becomes the target of all manner of gold diggers, thugs and crooks looking for easy money.
In this context we are introduced to Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo Dicaprio), who has just returned from the war and needs a career. He arrives at the invitation of his uncle, William Hale (robert deniro), a powerful businessman with influence in Osage. During their first meeting it is not only clear who Ernest and William are, and what they are looking for, it is also immediately apparent that De Niro and DiCaprio are at their best. It is a joy to see them so immersed in some very juicy characters that allow them to shine under the direction of Scorsese.
The shapes of Robert de Niro’s character are reminiscent of those of the mafia bosses that Scorsese has portrayed in some of his most acclaimed works, such as ‘One of ours’ (‘Goodfellas’) or ‘Casino’. And soon we will see that he is indeed carrying out criminal work within Osage. Because Scorsese is going to focus on a massacre that he tried to cover up, a story known as “the reign of terror“.
As expected, there is a lot of violence, murder, suffering, cruelty… the title doesn’t have ‘Killers’ by chance. However, it struck me that there is so much humor, right from the start. At heart, it’s a black comedy.. A black comedy with gangsters in a western setting. Because there is an evident serious and respectful tone when the historical facts are exposed, but when De Niro and DiCaprio start talking they release hilarious dialogues as if nothing.
And it makes sense because the story is insane. They were killing openly, everyone knew it and nothing was happening. Scorsese, who already made us laugh with authentic psychopaths, captures this absurd reality: a criminal could lead his life normally as a respectable citizen. The script has been written Eric Roth (Oscar winner for ‘Forrest Gump’) and himself Scorsese from the novel david grann, but it is evident that the actors have improvised lines. In fact, the conversations feel very authentic.
The entire cast is sensational but if there is an actor that stands out it is clearly Leonardo Dicaprio. I am not going to say that he performs the interpretation of his life because he has extraordinary roles and I think he will give us even more joy but his work here is unbeatable and he can be perfectly in the TOP 3 of his career so far. Because the movie is a gangster drama, a western and a black comedy based on an incredible true story… but it also has its romantic side. A very twisted one, of course. And you believe it because, despite everything, DiCaprio makes it believable.
Martin Scorsese himself reserves a cameo in the film to highlight one of the intentions of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’: the memory of some scandalous events that should not be forgotten. Finally, if you still haven’t decided that you want to see the movie, he points to another reason: It lasts 3 hours and 26 minutes but the narrative is so absorbing that you barely notice the passage of time. It’s so good you want more. It opens in October in movie theaters, which is where you have to enjoy it. On the big screen.