Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated film, made its debut at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and received a predominantly positive response. Departing from the typical crime drama, the movie narrates the true story of the Osage Nation, an Indigenous people who suddenly acquired wealth through oil, only to become the targets of white intruders. Given the sensitive subject matter, great care was taken to approach the story and the Osage people with respect. Lily Gladstone, who portrays Osage woman Mollie Burkhart, has expressed her thoughts on the film’s portrayal of Native Americans, referring to it as “a great American tragedy.”
FILMSWEEP VIDEO OF THE DAY
The conventional Hollywood perception of the “Western” genre often distorts the reality of the turn-of-the-century “Old West,” especially concerning the representation of Indigenous peoples. Gladstone, of Blackfeet/Niimíipuu heritage, shared with Empire her thoughts on the film’s characterization, saying, “With natives and Westerns, we are so dehumanized that it just kind of feels like we’re part of the landscape – instead of humans that are telling a story.” Rather than a traditional Western, Gladstone believes the film embodies “a great American tragedy.”
In the movie, Gladstone’s character, Mollie, is married to Ernest, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and their relationship serves as a vehicle to convey the Osage story. Gladstone remarked, “Having grown up on my reservation in Montana, in the American West and Indian country, it was very familiar to see this goofy, exaggerated cowboy sort of a character falling for a really self-possessed native woman.” She added, “That’s just such a familiar dynamic. And that was backed up by a lot of community stories that we had heard.” The film’s production team has been vocal about their commitment to providing an accurate and fair representation of the Osage people, aiming to bring their story to a wide audience. During the film’s press conference at Cannes, DiCaprio emphasized Scorsese’s dedication, stating that they engaged with the community, listened to real stories, and made every effort to incorporate the truth. Regardless of people’s opinions about the film, the cast and crew earnestly strived to pay respects to the authentic narratives.
The Creative Forces behind Killers of the Flower Moon
Killers of the Flower Moon is an adaptation of David Grann’s nonfiction book of the same title, which chronicles a series of murders in Osage County committed by white colonizers seeking to exploit the oil-rich land. The film features Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser alongside the main cast.
Killers of the Flower Moon is scheduled for a limited IMAX release on October 6, followed by a wide release on October 20. The film will later be available on AppleTV+. Watch the trailer below:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Native American representation
What is “Killers of the Flower Moon” about?
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a film directed by Martin Scorsese that tells the real-life story of the Osage Nation, an Indigenous people who experienced a series of murders after acquiring wealth from oil. It focuses on the tragic events and the targeted violence faced by the Osage people.
Who is Lily Gladstone and what is her role in the film?
Lily Gladstone is an actress who plays the character Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman, in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Her role is significant in portraying the experiences and perspective of the Osage people affected by the crimes depicted in the film.
How does the film address Native American representation?
The film’s creators and cast made efforts to provide an accurate and respectful representation of Native American characters and their stories. Lily Gladstone, along with others involved, emphasized the importance of showcasing Native Americans as fully developed characters with their own narratives, challenging the dehumanizing stereotypes often seen in Western films.
When will “Killers of the Flower Moon” be released?
The film premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival and is set to have a limited IMAX release on October 6, followed by a wide release on October 20. It will also become available on AppleTV+ at a later date.
What is the source material for the film?
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is adapted from the nonfiction book of the same name by David Grann. The book delves into the true story of the Osage murders and the larger historical context surrounding the events.
Who are some other notable actors in the film?
Aside from Lily Gladstone, the film features renowned actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser in prominent roles, further enhancing the star-studded cast.