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Killers of the Flower Moon
My thoughts on the new movie starring Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Martin Scorsese.
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
Admittedly, I have yet to read this book, which will soon be remedied. But the impact the trailer for the movie had on me was profound. Yes, I cried. Firstly, the main character is played by Lily Gladstone, who I met years ago, seeing her now being centered and celebrated for this role is such a joy. Secondly, the plot itself is familiar, as many of the concepts portrayed are still issues we face today. The brutality and greed of oil. Beyond me, the representation this gave the indigenous community has been powerful even with the movie yet to be released. Seeing our indigenous relatives celebrated at Cannes was spectacular. I for one, absolutely can’t wait to see this movie and support it in theaters, but I will arrive armed with tissues.
As the cherry on top of the whole experience; Lily gave an interview and spoke about how involved the indigenous community was with the making of the film, and how different it is because of that.
“That was very refreshing how involved the production got with the [Osage Nation] community. As the community warmed up to our presence, the more the community got involved with the film. It’s a different movie than the one [Scorsese] walked in to make almost entirely because of what the community had to say about how it was being made and what was being portrayed.”
-Lily Gladstone in Variety
Apple and Paramount will release “Killers of the Flower Moon” in theaters on Oct. 20. It will then debut on Apple’s streaming service at an unspecified date.
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