Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated film, opens in theaters on October 20. The newest epic from the acclaimed filmmaker is adapted from journalist David Grann’s nonfiction book about the Osage murders and the FBI’s origins.
The Osage, a Midwestern Indigenous community, were forced to give up their ancestral lands in the late 1800s. They were ultimately driven to Oklahoma, where their reservation lay on what were discovered to be oil-rich lands, and the tribe abruptly became the wealthiest community in the world. Corruption and systematic murders of the tribe in the 1920s followed. So many horrors ensued that the United States’ first federal investigative agency had to get involved.
Scorsese’s film chronicles a 1920s scheme to transfer the newly found wealth of the oil-rich Osage to the white men around them. Killers of the Flower Moon tells much of this history with many Indigenous actors, including stars like Lily Gladstone, and familiar Scorsese collaborators like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. In Scorsese’s hands, the film restructures the tale, making it less about the FBI and more about the Osage. As with his larger body of work, Killers is about how organized crime, and the egos that drive it, make victims of the innocent, or even just the oblivious. The centuries-long effort in US history to strip Indigenous people of their homes, their families, their wealth, and their dignity, often under the guise of caring for them, is just another example.
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