Martin Scorsese is probably at that point in his career where everything he makes is going to be considered a masterpiece. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t mean that in a dismissive way. Marty has been making films since the 1960’s and I don’t think there is anyone who has mastered the art quite as well as him. ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is further evidence of his expertise, but likely not one that will be considered “upper-echelon” Scorsese. Not quite the tour de force I was hoping for, but certainly one of the best films of the year.
So, if you’re on the fence as to whether or not to see ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ here are 3 Big Things you should consider:
1. Settle in and get comfortable
If you’re not sure you want to see ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ there is a huge thing I need to disclose:
The movie is nearly three and a half hours long.
Granted, I have no problem with a movie being over three hours as long as it’s good, but if you’re going to view it all in one seating (which is recommended) you’ll need to plan ahead. Maybe start early (I ended up at an 11am screening) and have a cup of coffee?
The good news is that once again, Martin Scorsese has made a long film that really doesn’t feel all that long. That’s the power of great storytelling. Even though ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ isn’t in my top-5 Marty movies, it by no means feels like a chore to watch.
2. I was certainly invested, but not compelled
If I were to rate my interest in the story here, it would be a resounding “meh”. Be aware though, that “meh” really comes in comparison to other Martin Scorsese films, not just this story in a vacuum. Martin Scorsese is my favorite filmmaker…no doubt about it. So, for the sake of honesty, when watching ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ I have to admit that I felt less compelled with this story than say ‘Goodfellas’ or ‘The Irishman’.
That certainly doesn’t mean this film is boring or uninspired. The three and a half hours went by in a flash. I found myself very invested and ultimately walked away feeling satisfied and informed.
3. Leo’s at his best, De Niro’s still got it, and Marty is the GOAT
‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is quite an accomplishment for these frequent collaborators. It’s also the first time DiCaprio, De Niro, and Scorsese have all worked together on the same film. The expertise is noticeable. This is Leo’s best role since ‘The Revenant’ and will likely put him firmly in the race for Best Actor. Robert De Niro fits his role with ease, but at the same time it feels like a bit of a departure from his typical roles.
Martin Scorsese, particularly in these late-career years, shows that he has an eye for the medium that is unmatched by anyone else. To take on such a grand scale film and have such mastery over it’s story-telling is a testament to his GOAT-ness.
Even with all of my praise, I’m not sure I can say ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is top-shelf Scorsese. It is however a top-shelf film of 2023. Although it can be a bit confusing at times, the story, performances, and pacing are all near-perfect. It may not be for anyone but the staunchest film-lovers, but it is a great reminder that Martin Scorsese is the best to ever get behind a camera.