Proving his distaste for comic book popcorn movies, director Martin Scorsese delivers significant cinema with his take on Killers of the Flower Moon. Theater goers hear a brief introduction from him, thanking us for using the big screen to watch a movie that matters—to him and to anyone who cares about humanity. The story comes from research by David Grann in his non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon. Scorsese steps in with Eric Roth to tool events for a screenplay that organizes a story to pull viewers in with romance, mystery, and history. Drawing from other cinematic greats and styles, Scorsese nods to silent films, 2001, Gaslight, his own Goodfellas, plus other visuals that add epic grandeur to a real-life story of greed, murder, and deceit. An accident spurs eve
nts. In resettling Osage members to a poor agricultural region in Oklahoma, the U.S. government unwittingly lost title to land laden with oil. The Osage got rich, with loads of money inspiring elaborate schemes to put that wealth into white hands. With nothing simple about the plot, Scorsese defies current box office theory by taking three and a half hours to unveil events in a visually eloquent manner that includes superb performances. The superstar turns come from Leonardo di Caprio and Robert de Niro, while Lily Gladstone provides the right tones as one of their targets. Some familiar faces come from the recording world, and Robbie Robertson’s choice of music layers the film like smoke rolling into every crevice. Final scenes include another familiar face—Scorsese himself in a fictionalized radio performance that works as a coda to fill in final details. His emotion shines through, an extra gut punch to a wrenching story of depth and importance.