Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon ★★★½

The ambition, scope and execution of this incredibly heartbreaking noir are all top notch, but this epic is overlong by at least a half-hour. It’s ponderous, perhaps befittingly for Scorsese given his recent public comments about reckoning with the end of a long lifetime of work, but nevertheless I couldn’t help but feel tested by the runtime. Dicaprio is terrific but sadly I wasn’t as taken by Lily Gladstone’s performance; she’s soulful but limited in range. DeNiro on the other hand brings something new that I’ve never seen from him: he renders his character with only a minimum of DeNiro-ness; at times he’s unrecognizable in a way that he hasn’t been in the past. It’s an interesting and unexpected wrinkle in our relationship with this iconic performer, made all the more so by the last act, when Scorsese starts to reveal the decidedly gangland-like themes that he’s always been interested in. To have DeNiro there at that point helps land Scorsese’s agenda, like a musician whose style is always unmistakable.

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