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‘Killer of the Flower Moon’ is a monstrous story of greed, masterfully told : NPR

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Martin Scorsese’s epic 3.5-hour dramatization of David Grann’s true-life tragedy concerning the Osage Nation stars Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.



SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

“Killers Of The Flower Moon” is a true-crime epic directed by Martin Scorsese. It reunites the filmmaker with two of his muses, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, however in an unfamiliar context. Actually, that is Scorsese’s first Western. Critic Bob Mondello says it’s masterful.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: We start at an Osage Nation funeral for a pipe that represents a lifestyle. The younger individuals listening outdoors, laments a tribal elder, will likely be taught by white individuals, will study new methods – and the way proper he’s. Oil gushes up from the grave they’ve dug. The Osage tribe, banished to Oklahoma land the U.S. authorities thought nugatory, grew to become, for a time, the wealthiest individuals per capita on Earth, which is when Ernest, recent from serving in World Battle I and none too vivid, as performed by Leonardo DiCaprio, encounters them.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

LEONARDO DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) Whose land is that this?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) My land.

MONDELLO: He is being pushed by a Native American worker of his uncle’s by means of what appears to be like like a forest of oil derricks. The Osage personal them however endure the racist indignity of getting wealth however needing a white cosigner to spend it. The white man who’s finest discovered how one can revenue from that indignity is Ernest’s uncle, cattleman William Hale, performed by Robert De Niro.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

ROBERT DE NIRO: (As William Hale) Properly, properly, properly. Our battle hero has arrived.

(As William Hale) You made a sensible choice coming again right here. Osage are the best, wealthiest, and most stunning individuals on God’s Earth.

MONDELLO: Additionally, in Hale’s view, essentially the most exploitable – he urges his nephew to court docket Lily Gladstone’s Mollie, the dignified eldest of 4 sisters whose oil entitlements are significantly huge. And Ernest, who’s shiftless however could be charming, does simply that.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) They advised me you was going with Matt Williams for a time.

LILY GLADSTONE: (As Mollie Burkhart) You discuss an excessive amount of.

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) I do not discuss an excessive amount of. Pondering who I bought to beat on this horse race. That is all.

GLADSTONE: (As Mollie Burkhart) I did not understand this was a race.

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) I am a unique form of horse.

GLADSTONE: (As Mollie Burkhart, talking Osage).

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) What was that?

GLADSTONE: (As Mollie Burkhart, talking Osage). That is how you might be.

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) I do not know what you stated, however it should have been Indian for good-looking satan.

(LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: Marriage appears within the playing cards and would, notes Hale, give Ernest a declare on Mollie’s property.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

DE NIRO: (As William Hale) Once we combine these households collectively and that property cash flows the best path, it will come to us.

MONDELLO: That sounds merely calculating. Hale’s precise plans are extra dire. The Osage group has these days been by a mysterious losing illness, and Ernest is an all-too-willing confederate within the fates of Osage who will not get an opportunity to waste.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

DE NIRO: (As William Hale) You did not inform him to go away the gun?

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) I do not know why – I advised him to go away the gun.

DE NIRO: (As William Hale) For those who advised him to do it within the entrance of the pinnacle, then why did he do it at the back of the pinnacle?

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) He has to make it seem like he finished it himself.

DE NIRO: (As William Hale) It simply appears to be like like homicide. It is not alleged to be that manner.

MONDELLO: Working from David Grann’s nonfiction bestseller, Martin Scorsese has original a monstrous story of greed abetted by stupidity and enabled by entrenched prejudice. De Niro is a coiled snake, fluent within the Osage language, ostentatiously charitable at funerals, however ever looking out for probabilities to strike. DiCaprio’s Ernest is his subservient coyote. Whether or not facilitating homicide…

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

DE NIRO: (As William Hale) Cash flows freely right here now.

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) I do love that cash, sir.

MONDELLO: …Or administering the insulin that by some means appears to make Mollie’s diabetes worse…

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

GLADSTONE: (As Mollie Burkhart) I want you right here.

DICAPRIO: (As Ernest Burkhart) I’m proper right here.

MONDELLO: …DiCaprio even begins to seem like De Niro – the downturned curve of his mouth, the squint of his eyes. And anchoring the movie, giving it weight and an emotional middle, is Gladstone’s Mollie, grounded, majestic in her calm, even when that calm is de facto an inertia introduced on by sickness.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON”)

GLADSTONE: (As Mollie Burkhart, talking Osage).

MONDELLO: Linguistic constancy is only one of many parts that distinguish “Killers Of The Flower Moon.” Together with sweeping vistas, rampant criminality and gaslit marital melodrama, the movie is a gangster story of greed, racism, lies and violence. It’s, briefly, American historical past.

I am Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content is probably not in its last kind and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could fluctuate. The authoritative report of NPR’s programming is the audio report.

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