Killers of the Flower Moon is The Greatest Film Ever Made: FACT!
Monday is about movies. And I'm a Big Fan of BIG CALLS! So here's one of the biggest!
Since I “saw” you last - on Friday where I was celebrating the music of Martin Scorsese, I’ve been to see Killers of The Flower Moon, his latest film; a brand new release. Part of my Martin Scorsese re-watch project was in anticipation of the new film…and it was a nice way to build up to it. Even so, walking in to a 3.5 hour film means there’s some trepidation.
But I felt instantly on board with Killers and it just got better frame by frame. So, look, I'll address the elephant - it is too long. But at the same time, it could have been LONGER - just not in that format. My perfect “director’s cut” for this would be a 5-6 hour limited series; 50-60 min episodes available to binge in one or two goes.
I walked out of the film and declared it the greatest movie I’ve ever seen. The best thing Scorsese has made. The finest music Robbie Robertson has created (R.I.P.), the best way for Robert De Niro to dip out - his best acting performance in 20 years or so. And then of course another mighty fine effort from Leo DiCaprio, and from Jesse Plemons, and there’s support from John Lithgow and Brendan Fraser, and a really impressive turn from the musicians Jason Isbell (one of several musicians in the film - see also Jack White, Pete Yorn, Sturgill Simpson and Charlie Musselwhite with walk-ons).
Now, no one was listening when I was calling this the greatest film ever, when I was ticking off all these great contributions.
But my hope in all of this is that the Academy is listening to me or anyone else that calls for Lily Gladstone to be the one awarded one of the trophies. Her performance is the greatest acting contribution to the film. She is the centre. She is all class. Vulnerable, yet stoic. Understated.
Killers of the Flower Moon is a film I have been thinking about non-stop since I saw it on Friday night.
I’ve been playing the film’s score on close enough to a loop. I’ve started walking around the house with my copy of the book. I started the book a couple of years ago, and forgot to carry on with it - as sometimes happens when you start too many books. But now it’s back to the top of my list.
I also started watching whatever I could about the film. The Cannes Film Festival press conference. A PBS short documentary film about the Osage murders. Mark Kermode’s review - which nails it really. And addresses the film’s length, pondering whether we need “cinematic” cuts and “streaming service cuts” of these sorts of films.
It’s a film I don’t want to spoil for you at all - hence this not really being a review, and just a rave about my reaction. But the cat’s well out of the bag of course. But I am already planning to sit down with this film again. Maybe I won’t make it during its run at the cinema, but I’ll definitely be tuning in when it lands on Apple+ (soon by the way, for those that want to wait).
The interviews with Scorsese have been heartwarming too. This really does feel like his valedictorian effort. He outclasses everyone with this film. It is stylish but also feels authentic, it serves the source material whilst going on to tell its own story too (developing a side-plot, leaving the book’s focus on the FBI as more of a footnote).
I know it’s wrong to pit this against Oppenheimer, though it’s hard not too - both being epics, made by big-name directors, big-statement films, obviously both being served up in time for awards season too…
For my money, Killers shits all over Oppenheimer. This is filmmaking. This is big screen storytelling. This is everything you are meant to feel from an epic delivery - from returning the source material to wanting to find out more about the real life events, to just wanting to live inside the film a little longer.
Okay, I wasn’t a fan of Oppenheimer, but I just wanted to shake it off me as soon as I left the theatre. It was three hours I was never getting back.
I hope everyone that suddenly remembered the cinema can be a great place to go - allegedly on the back of Christopher Nolan’s BIG film - make the effort to see Marty’s new movie. It’s taken my breath away.
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