Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)
206 min|Crime, Drama, History|20 Oct 2023
7.6Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 237,553 usersMetascore: 89
When oil is discovered in 1920s Oklahoma under Osage Nation land, the Osage people are murdered one by one - until the FBI steps in to unravel the mystery.

The master of cinema, Martin Scorsese, returns with “Killers of the Flower Moon.” One thing that is important to note is the film’s duration, which reaches 206 minutes. This is the longest film I’ve ever watched in a cinema. Scorsese, once again, casts two of his regular collaborators, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, supported by stars including Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser. With a budget of USD 200 million, this film is adapted from a non-fiction book of the same title by David Grann. Will “Flower Moon” become one of Scorsese’s best works after dozens of his masterpieces?

The film is set in the 1920s in Osage County, Oklahoma, USA. It is said that the area controlled by the Osage Indian tribe has found abundant oil deposits. As a result, the Osage County natives became sudden millionaires. Where there is sugar, there are ants. Immigrants also arrived and started trying to find a way to profit from the abundant profits, including William King Hale (De Niro). King seemed to be their savior god and tried to find a legal loophole through marriage by using his cronies to marry Indian women who were heirs to land in the region.

One of his important pawns is Ernest Burkhart (DiCaprio), who marries Molly (Gladstone), a native Indian who, along with his mother and siblings, owns large tracts of land there. In development, after his cronies had children, King’s scheme went further in a “subtle” way by eliminating the heirs of the land one by one so that ownership rights passed to his cronies. This murder incident finally caught Washington’s attention, so they sent a team led by agent Tom White (Plemons).

Flower Moon is not easy to watch because of its extraordinary duration. This is also made worse by the slow tempo of the plot; it continues to tempt us to fall asleep. Honestly, “Flower Moon” is a tiring spectacle whose style is similar to Scorsese’s other work, “Silence” (2016), even though its duration is only 161 minutes. Often, the scenes drag on with long segments of dialogue. You can imagine how tiring it would be to watch this long. Although it must be admitted, other aspects, such as acting and setting, can keep boredom at bay.

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The story itself is light and clear, with a clear boundary between black (evil) and white (good). There is little intrigue or significant plot twists. The plot repeats many of Scorsese’s crime-gangster films with familiar characters and actors. How often has De Niro played his typical antagonist since “The Godfather Part 2” to “The Untouchables”? On the other hand, even though DiCaprio now only acts as a pawn, this still does not reduce the exceptional quality of his acting. Another notable one is Lily Gladstone playing Molly, who portrays a figure far from healthy for almost the entire film, with an expression of tiredness and despair dominating her acting.

One other note is that the setting aspect presented is extraordinary. It’s been a long time since the CGI era; we’ve seen a film with a colossal setting that was made for real like this. The atmosphere of the city, with hundreds of residents, looks natural, plus old cars milling here and there, complete with the train station. One unique presentation technique appears at the end of the film. Biographical films or similar docudramas usually close with an epilogue in the form of text, but this is a theatrical presentation, and the filmmaker also has a cameo. Indeed, this feels disconnected from the film’s tone, established from the start. It could be that Scorsese wants to emphasize the dark history of the US, which must not be lost.

A tribute film to the Osage tribe and cinema, “Killers of the Flower Moon” tests the endurance of film fans with its length and slow pace, even though the main cast’s performances and setting are the plus points. The issues raised are significant for US history, but viewers from their home country may understand the story better and more deeply. I only learned about the fact that there are Indians who are exclusive and live in wealth after watching this. I don’t understand what could happen or the impact after this. For the filmmaker, age (80 years) has remained his golden touch, even though it is not at the level of his best works. A duration that is too long interferes with my endurance and physical comfort while watching. This differs from films directed by James Cameron (“Avatar 2”: 192 minutes) or Chris Nolan (“Oppenheimer”: 180 minutes), which present stunning visuals.

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His hobby has been watching films since childhood, and he studied film theory and history autodidactically after graduating from architectural studies. He started writing articles and reviewing films in 2006. Due to his experience, the author was drawn to become a teaching staff at the private Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta, where he taught Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory from 2003 to 2019. His debut film book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2008, which divides film art into narrative and cinematic elements. The second edition of the book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2018. This book has become a favorite reference for film and communication academics throughout Indonesia. He was also involved in writing the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Vol. 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Additionally, he authored the "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). Until now, he continues to write reviews of the latest films at and is actively involved in all film productions at the Montase Film Community. His short films have received high appreciation at many festivals, both local and international. Recently, his writing was included in the shortlist (top 15) of Best Film Criticism at the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival. From 2022 until now, he has also been a practitioner-lecturer for the Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts in the Independent Practitioner Program.


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