Emerging from the creative sphere of Martin Scorsese, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is a seismic shift in 2023’s film narrative. This Western crime drama, inspired by David Grann’s 2017 exploration, offers a fresh lens on the 1920s Osage Nation in Oklahoma, disrupted by the sudden prominence of oil. With Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro at the helm and considering their history with Scorsese, storytelling’s a tangible evolution. Add in the distinct performances of Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser, and the film feels like a synthesis of nuanced drama and innovative storytelling. It’s a journey worth embarking on.
In a twist of fate that no one saw coming, Osage Indians in Oklahoma stumble upon a black treasure: an oil reservoir. This discovery, instead of bringing unity, sows discord. Local politics, steeped in prejudice, threaten to overshadow the newfound prosperity. William Hale, a white figurehead with greed in his sights, becomes hell-bent on ensuring the profits are skewed towards the non-native population.
Fresh from the horrors of WWI, Ernest Burkhart finds himself in Oklahoma, seeking solace and employment from his intriguing uncle, William, dubbed the “King”. But Oklahoma is a gameboard, and Ernest is about to be played. As he’s pulled into the “King’s” world, he realises the man’s dual perceptions of the Osage: viewing them both as a native charm and a barrier to unchecked wealth. The deeper Ernest dives, the murkier the waters become, revealing a blueprint that’s laced with dark intentions, arson, and even death.
Despite familial ties chaining him to the “King”, Ernest becomes an inside man after falling for Mollie, an Osage woman. His feelings for her, genuine yet complicated, are manipulated by the “King”, turning Ernest into a gateway for extracting inside information. As Ernest spirals, driven by the “King’s” sinister orchestrations, the shadow of treachery looms large over the Osage community.
However, it’s not all bleak. Ernest and Mollie’s shared moments, from raising children to caring for each other, shine as a beacon amid the chaos, offering a poignant exploration of love, loyalty, and conflict in a world brimming with deceit.