Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Killers of the Flower Moon: Colonialism or Activism?

Graphic made by Lucy Severson.
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” directed by Martin Scorsese, is based on the book written by David Grann. It came out in theaters on Oct. 20, 2023.

Martin Scorsese, director of acclaimed films such as “Good- fellas” and “Taxi Driver”, recently came out with his newest film known as “Killers of the Flower Moon”, based on the book of the same name by David Grann, in which he explores the tragedy relating to the Osage Nation in the 1920s in Oklahoma.

Throughout the movie we are shown multiple murders that center around the oil reservations owned at the time by Osage communities and the way in which their lands and identity were taken away from them.

With an A-list cast filled with top performers, the actress that outshines most scenes is breakout star Lily Gladstone. Her character is Mollie Burkhart, a woman part of the Osage nation who finds herself in the center of the conflict as her husband Ernest Burkhart, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is one of the main perpetrators of this tragedy.

Another stellar performance in the movie comes from Robert DeNiro as William Hale, the uncle of Ernest Burkhart, who is shown to be the mastermind behind the wave of murders and manipulates the people around him motivated by his own personal gain. Scorsese shows us this movie through mostly the perspective of Ernest, as the audience witnesses the horrors committed by him and his accomplices, while still highlighting the greedy nature of the character, mentioning multiple times the importance he gave to money and, by default, Mollie’s wealth.

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One of the main criticisms of the movie is the perspective that Scorsese picked and the wasted opportunity it could have been to show Mollie’s point of view as many stories showcased in the present day are told through the eyes of a white man.

The importance of Native American voices is still displayed in the movie, as we are shown focus on various scenes featuring the Osage community that their identity is being lost as time passes, with most of the women in the tribe marrying white men and being stolen from their wealth.

Killers of the Flower Moon has a surprising length of three hours and 26 minutes but does not shy away from having fast timing. The movie has no problem in deciding when to take its time at showing us some of the more crude scenes, while also keeping the audience at the edge of their seat at what is going to happen next.

In the final act of the movie, we enter a more psychological battle between the characters and the fine line between the truth and lies become less clear as we observe the inner struggles of the characters, with the consequences that these acts leave to the perpetrators and victims alike.

The film closes with the audience being told what happened after the events in the Osage Nation, especially to Ernest, William and Mollie, leaving the audience questioning the importance given to Native-American communities and how often these murders are hidden away.

Killers of the Flower Moon, released on the 20th of October, is still being shown in most film theaters around the country and it will be coming soon to Apple TV+.

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About the Contributor
Larissa Lopez
Larissa Lopez, Photographer
Larissa Lopez (she/her/hers) is currently a photographer at The Winonan.
Larissa is an international student from Santa Cruz, Bolivia and is a second-year student at Winona State University in the major of Finance. She loves experimenting with the different activities offered on campus, and visiting as many places as possible. She hopes as a photographer, to be able to experience more events and portray them.
Larissa’s hobbies include watching films of any genre, making traditional and digital art, listening to music and biking around Winona.

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