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Killers of the Flower Moon review: Martin Scorsese delivers a brutal yet essential film

The film comes to cinemas on 20 October and will later be released on Apple TV+

Watch Yahoo UK's review for Killers of the Flower Moon:

  • 🎞️ When is Killers of the Flower Moon out in cinemas: 20 October, 2023

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 5/5

  • 🎭 Who's in it? Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons.

  • 👍 What we liked: This is a stellar Martin Scorsese production, with a touching yet tragic story at its centre and a stellar cast. Lily Gladstone is a marvel in the movie.

  • 👎 What we didn't: The film's three and a half hour runtime might be a bit difficult for some viewers to sit through.

  • 📖 What's it about? The Osage Nation tribe are rich with oil, but this leads to an untold number of murders and suspicious deaths in the 1920s. The horrific true story is told as the backdrop to the romance between Ernest Burkhart and Mollie — whose family are also targeted.

Martin Scorsese has done it again, he has created a heartfelt and brutal story for the screen with Killers of the Flower Moon — which outlines the horrors of the Osage Nation murders in the 1920s, a case that is an important yet sadly forgotten part of American history that led to the birth of the FBI.

Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by David Grann, the Apple TV+ film explores what happened to the Osage Nation after the discovery of oil in their Oklahoma land, which led to a boom in their wealth but also brought unwanted interest from outsiders, leading to a series of grisly murders of countless people from the Native American tribe.

Read more: The shocking true story behind Killers Of The Flower Moon

The acclaimed filmmaker explores the horrific true story through the lens of Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the relationship he develops with Native American woman Mollie (Lily Gladstone), all while he listens to and follows orders from his uncle William Hale (Robert De Niro) who is conspiring to steal as much money as possible from the Osage, regardless of how many innocent people have to die to get it.

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from Martin Scorsese's upcoming Apple Original Film, Killers of the Flower Moon. (Courtesy of Apple)
Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from Martin Scorsese's upcoming Apple Original Film, Killers of the Flower Moon. (Courtesy of Apple)

Scorsese's true crime film is a veritable epic, not least because its runtime is three and a half hours, it may be long but the movie is richer for it because of how essential the narrative feels as a whole.

Each scene brings to light the horrors of the attacks on the Osage Nation, and although they are difficult to watch the fact that their story has largely been forgotten from public consciousness before this movie means it feels only right to acknowledge the pain and suffering they went through.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon. (Apple TV+)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon. (Apple TV+)

The director approaches the subject with care, ensuring the story never glorifies the white men who came to investigate the case and instead focuses on the indigenous people who were impacted by the event. The film also makes sure to highlight the monstrous nature of the white men at the heart of the story.

Scorsese chose to rethink the script from one centred on the FBI to one about the Native American tribe who were victimised, and this certainly feels like it was a good call. Killers of the Flower Moon is a deeply human story thanks to its focus on the Indigenous people affected by this horrific event, and it is them that the audience will feel connected to more than anyone else.

DiCaprio's Ernest is wily and manipulative and De Niro's Will is cold and vicious. Both actors, who have worked with Scorsese multiple times, give memorable performances in their latest collaboration with the filmmaker, but it is Gladstone who is the most astonishing in the role of Mollie.

Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon. (Apple TV+)
Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon. (Apple TV+)

The actor delivers a heart-wrenching performance, she is able to highlight both the inner beauty and the tragedy of her character with a subtle touch, depicting Mollie as a flawed yet absolutely charming person who you can't help but feel drawn to and moved by as her world is destroyed in front of her eyes.

Read more: Martin Scorsese reveals creative struggle after Taxi Driver: 'It depressed me a great deal'

It is Mollie that we want to turn back to as things take a darker and darker turn, and Scorsese aptly brings her narrative to the forefront and tells her story to great effect against the backdrop of so much bloodshed.

Through Killers of the Flower Moon, Scorsese has put together a remarkable American epic that is thought-provoking and powerful, creating a story that will stay with viewers long after it is finished.

Killers of the Flower Moon is out in UK cinemas and IMAX now, with an Apple TV+ release to follow.

Watch the trailer for Killers of the Flower Moon: