Killers of the Flower Moon – Another Scorsese Sensation
Martin Scorsese is no stranger to controversy. From the bloody shootout that concludes Taxi Driver and the indignant protests that plagued screenings of The Last Temptation of Christ to his recent criticisms of superhero cinema, the man has been one of the most divisive figures in cinema for the past five decades. But this tends to mask, for those not so geekily invested in film preservation or global distribution, his innumerable contributions to the form, and particularly to the art of marginalised filmmakers that would otherwise have gone unseen or unfunded.
Though Killers of the Flower Moon is made by Scorsese rather than an underrepresented filmmaker, it addresses many of the issues that the work he supports has covered – specifically, indigenous stories and the rights of those impacted by colonialism. Continuing the partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio that has once again unlocked access to a new side of the actor, the film more excitingly places a spotlight on up and comer Lily Gladstone, whose performance emotionally anchors an often-brutal film. For all the discourse about runtimes – admittedly, this is a particularly long film – Scorsese and frequent collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker, legendary editor of movies like Raging Bull and The Departed, know cinematic pacing inside and out, and have crafted an experience that more than earns its length.
If The Irishman was Scorsese quietly reflecting on aging and the legacy we leave behind, Killers of the Flower Moon is a rousing call to arms, devastating in its examination of past traumas and appropriately angering in its consciousness raising for the future.