KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
This movie review began as one of my “Mini Movie Reviews,” to be published alongside some of the other nominated films this year. But as I kept adding to it, making it almost as long as Killers of the Flower Moon itself(!,) I realized that this piece of cinema deserves to have its very own review. So here we go.
As it went on and on, I kept thinking that I definitely could have lived without this time-suck. I had no idea what was going on for most of the film, and they made Leonardo DiCaprio look ugly, therefore this was far from up my alley.
But I did research it all night when it was over, (as I usually do with everything I need more info on,) and discovered that it’s a true story. I already knew that abuse by whites of Indian peoples back then is, very sadly, true, but this tale, in particular, is also true. And it was the catalyst for the formation of the FBI. Who knew? (Outside of Martin Scorsese, of course.) So all of that made it interesting in retrospect for me. I couldn’t bear to ever watch it again, but I have re-run it in my mind several times since then. (Only I pictured Leo still being handsome.)
While viewing it, I didn’t know what the focus of the film was for a long time, perhaps for the first hour, (of many—trust me!) And then it finally dawned on me—it’s basically The Godfather or Goodfellas or The Departed or Gangs of New York or any of those…on the prairie.
Even though the actual story of Killers of the Flower Moon escaped me for
part most of the film, I, of course, recognize the merit of the work.
But I do have more than a quarrel with some of the nominations for it.
Even though not a snub, (if you missed it, here’s my rant about the erroneous use of that word by Hollywood denizens: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/karens-rantskarens-lessons-does-no-one-in-hollywood-know-the-meaning-of-the-word-snubbed,) I honestly cannot believe that Leonardo DiCaprio was not nominated for an Oscar for this film! My feeling is that he should always be nominated, even when he doesn’t make a movie! (Okay, okay.)
But really, how were there five performances that are better than his?! I haven’t seen one yet! (But I still have four nominated male performances to see, so I’ll know for sure then.)
The only minuscule negative to his portrayal here is that his character does sort-of turn into the Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade for a minute, so I don’t know if the real guy had a mental handicap or not.
My other nomination quarrel is that, (and I really do hate to be the one to say this,) Lily Gladstone’s performance is far from special. It’s basically all on one flat level throughout, except when she gives a scream over a newly-deceased relative. I feel that the Academy and Screen Actors Guild voters just wanted to nominate an honest-to-goodness American Indian. (She should have been nominated in the category of Best Supporting Actress to begin with, not Best Leading Actress. But I have a feeling the voters want Da’Vine Joy Randolph from The Holdovers to win the Supporting award; that way, two diverse people win, so the Academy and SAG will look better to the world.)
[Note: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has some crazy new rule that a film’s cast has to be a certain percent “diverse” to qualify for Best Picture nominations, beginning this year! How insane is that? What if it’s a story of old Irish immigrants in Brooklyn, for example? How are they going to fit black or Latino people or even gay ones, (when nobody admitted that they are of that persuasion,) into that one??? And I guess that Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, the story of his Jewish family, wouldn’t be eligible now? And A Raisin in the Sun would have to feature a white actor, even though it’s an all-black story???? Give me a break!]
Lily will most likely win every award because of the desire of the voters to be diverse. Not fair, especially compared to Annette Benning’s soul-baring performance in Nyad, (which I’ll discuss in my next Mini Movie Reviews column.) Oh well.
[Note #2 on the subject: I’ve always loved when someone new, and often different from the previous victors, wins, so I’m happy with the diversity. I just always want the person or film who really deserves it to be the winner, no matter their ethnicity.]
I have an additional duo of head-scratching and picayune observations about Killers of the Flower Moon to share, and one funny one.
There’s one scene in the second half of the uber-long film where Leo is encouraging someone to bomb a house, and all of a sudden, he looks younger and like his real-life self! The difference in his character’s looks from all the other scenes is glaring. Mr. X, who absolutely detests agreeing with me on anything, noticed it, too, when I pointed it out. I’m assuming that it was the first scene shot, after which they decided to ugly him up. If that is the case, they should have gone back and re-shot that one scene after they established the character’s look, if even just to satisfy yours truly! (Or maybe I’m wrong about it all. But judge for yourselves when you see the film. If you’re not asleep by that scene!)
The other head-scratcher is why was there that one few-seconds scene where some woman telephoned the two doctors? What was that about? It was never explained. (If any of you can enlighten me about that, or anything else in life, I’d love to read your comments below.)
Now, the one thing that amused me is one of the end credits. It reads “Choreographer/intimacy coordinator.” How does one person fulfill those two positions??? Leave it to Scorsese.
Since the SAGs (that Mr. X and I have to vote for in just a mere two weeks,) followed by the Oscars, will be here very shortly, I’ll be getting back to sharing my Mini Movie reviews very soon, (hopefully in just a couple of days,) so if you’re a film aficionado, or just one of snark, keep an eye out for them.