Killers of the Flower Moon Review: Blood, Conspiracy, and Betrayal on the Osage Reservation

Killers of the Flower Moon Review

Killers of the Flower Moon Review: A Promising True Story With Excessive Length

Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese, is too long, turning a compelling true story into a drawn-out epic that would work better as a shorter film. The film explores the conspiracy to steal resources from the Osage people and how it helped establish the FBI. While stylistically engaging, the excessive length detracts from the storytelling and leaves the audience waiting for it to end. The film would benefit from tighter editing and a runtime closer to two hours.

The plot revolves around Mollie Burkhart’s family, with Lily Gladstone portraying Mollie, as they become the primary targets of the killings. As the death toll rises, suspicions of poisoning and a bomb blast shake the community. However, the investigations lose momentum due to collusion between the perpetrators and investigators, including cattle baron William Hale.

Killers of the Flower Moon Review
Apple Studios

Driven by public pressure, the Osage push for federal intervention, led to the involvement of the newly formed FBI under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover. Agent Tom White, played by Jesse Plemons, is tasked with unraveling the conspiracy. The FBI ultimately identifies William Hale, played by Robert De Niro, as the mastermind behind the murders. Hale’s motive is rooted in the theft of Osage oil wealth, as he seeks to obtain the individual rights, or headlights, to the lucrative oil revenues.

Ernest Burkhart, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Mollie’s husband, and Hale’s nephew, becomes a co-conspirator in the killings. Investigators suspect that Ernest and Hale conspire with corrupt doctors to poison Mollie’s insulin, aiming to inherit her share of the wealth upon her demise.

During the trial, Hale manipulates the justice system through bribery and intimidation, resulting in multiple trials. Eventually, he is convicted for the murder of Mollie’s former husband, Henry Roan, after taking out a life insurance policy on him. Hale is sentenced to Leavenworth prison, where Agent Tom White assumes the role of warden.

While J. Edgar Hoover considers the case closed, the film exposes the unresolved murders and a broader network of criminal activities. David Grann’s further investigations implicate H.G. Burt, a banker involved in a range of crimes to steal headlights, potentially linked to the murder of W.W. Vaughan, a prosecutor investigating the case.

The film sheds light on the collusion among judges, doctors, and officials who conspired to rob and kill the Osage people. Even after nearly a century, the Osage community continues to bear the weight of the traumatic memories and enduring effects of this brutal plunder and violence.

What Is The Main Highlight Of Killers of the Flower?

  • Killers of the Flower Moon is set in 1920s Oklahoma on the Osage reservation.
  • The Osage tribe members are targeted and murdered as part of a plot to deprive them of their valuable oil wealth.
  • Mollie Burkhart’s family becomes the focus of the killings, with her sister Anna Brown being shot and her mother suspected of being poisoned.
  • A bomb planted beneath Mollie’s sister Rita’s home kills Rita and her husband, Bill Smith, leading to further suspicion and fear within the community.
  • Investigations into the murders lose momentum as investigators, including cattle baron William Hale, are revealed to be in league with the murderers.
  • The Osage tribe pressures the federal government to involve the FBI in the case, led by Agent Tom White.
  • The FBI identifies William Hale, motivated by the theft of Osage oil wealth, as the mastermind behind the killings.
  • Hale’s nephew, Ernest Burkhart, marries Mollie and becomes complicit in the murders, aiming to inherit the wealth.
  • Hale and Ernest collaborate with corrupt doctors to poison Mollie’s insulin, intending to inherit her fortune.
  • Hale is eventually convicted of the murder of Mollie’s former husband, Henry Roan, and sent to Leavenworth prison.
  • Unsolved murders and additional criminal activities linked to stealing headrights, including the murder of prosecutor W.W. Vaughan, are uncovered by further investigation.
  • The film exposes the systemic collusion among judges, doctors, and officials in robbing and murdering the Osage people.

Overall, Killers of the Flower Moon is Martin Scorsese’s riveting and masterfully crafted fictional adaptation of the bestseller. With its compelling narrative, remarkable direction, and outstanding performances, the film brings to life the harrowing story of the Osage murder epidemic.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Review by: Arun Venugopal

TitleKillers of the Flower Moon
DirectorMartin Scorsese
CastLeonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, John Lithgow, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion, William Belleau, Scott Shepherd, Louis Cancelmi
Release DateOctober 6, 2023 (select theaters)
October 20, 2023 (wide release)
Production CompanySikelia Productions, Appian Way Productions
PlotMembers of the Osage tribe in northeastern Oklahoma are murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s, sparking a major FBI investigation directed by a young J. Edgar Hoover and former Texas Ranger Tom White.

Arun Venugopal - Author, SEO Specialist, and Senior Editor of Maxblizz.