Killers of the Flower Moon
It was the first film to be announced for this year’s lineup, and the still of Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone at the dinner table was used not only to promote the production but also the fact that Cannes is still a destination of choice for the greats. All the more baffling, the festival decided to limit Killers of the Flower Moon to one public and one press screening each, practically ensuring mayhem over the coveted tickets to Martin Scorsese’s latest stroke of genius.
After returning to the States from the first world war, Ernest Burkhart (DiCaprio) is taken under his uncle’s wing – the “King of the Osage Hills”, William Hale (Robert De Niro). Headright and resulting oil money have rendered the Osage Nation the wealthiest among the indigenous people. When Burkhart meets Mollie (Gladstone), Hale suggests a marriage between the two to ensure a share. But of course, one slice of the cake is never enough, and soon the bodies of Osage people start to pile up.
The non-fiction book by journalist David Grann, detailing the Reign of Terror in 1920’s Oklahoma serves as the basis for this adaptation, with a masterfully eclectic screenplay by Eric Roth delivering humorous retorts without coming across as glib. The camerawork excels, in particular with the antennae it appears to have for the terrain: we feel the pre-asphalt gravel the car drives on through its bumpy movements or the oil drill as it shakes the ground.
Unsurprisingly the acting is virtuous on all fronts, even as it is amusing to see DiCaprio and De Niro compete for who can pull their frown down furthest, bestowing on them something of a familial resemblance. DiCaprio’s self-proclaimed “trilogy of corruption through different time periods” has officially gained a fourth instalment, as his avaricious character bridges the gap between his previous Calvin J Candie and Jordan Belfort.
Apropos the latter: without venturing into spoiler territory, Killers of the Flower Moon’s conclusion will likely redeem Scorsese in the eyes of those bristling at the platform Belfort was given with his appearance in The Wolf of Wall Street.
The bloodcurdling crime drama is very deserving of the place it holds in fans’ watchlists of the most anticipated films of 2023 and is definitely recommended to be seen in cinemas before its Apple TV+ streaming release in October.
Killers of the Flower Moon does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Killers of the Flower Moon here: