The Big Picture
- Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is a gripping western epic centered around greed, murder, and ambition in the 1920s Oklahoma oil boom.
- The film sheds light on a distressing chapter of history where the Osage Nation’s newfound wealth attracted manipulation, extortion, and murder by opportunistic outsiders.
- Portraying real-life character Mollie Kyle, Lily Gladstone emphasizes the emotional impact of the film and the importance of acknowledging the lasting effects of this dark period in history.
Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon is one of the most talked-about movies of the year, with the three-and-a-half hour film taking viewers on a vivid odyssey of greed, murder and ruthless ambition in the 1920s. As part of their “Read the Screenplay” series, Deadline has published the full script for the acclaimed western epic which is available for those curious to learn more to read at their leisure. Scorsese wrote the screenplay alongside the Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth, based on the book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann.
The narrative takes place in Oklahoma at the beginning of the 20th century, where the discovery of oil brought immense wealth to the Osage Nation. Almost overnight, they became among the wealthiest individuals globally. However, this newfound prosperity drew the attention of opportunistic outsiders, primarily of European descent, who engaged in manipulation, extortion, and theft of Osage funds. As these nefarious activities escalated, they eventually culminated in a series of murders, marking a dark period known as the Reign of Terror. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone and Jesse Plemons.
Scorsese and Roth constructed their expansive Western narrative around the love story of Ernest Burkhart portrayed by DiCaprio, and Mollie Kyle played by Gladstone. In doing so, they exposed and illuminated a distressing chapter of U.S. history that had been largely overlooked by many over the years, except for those whose lives were permanently affected by it. Scorsese first dreamt up the idea of the film as a way to show the birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The story was originally framed via the perspective of Plemons’ FBI agent, meant to be played by DiCaprio, until the latter argued that the story would be better told from the perspective of the Osage.
‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Packs an Emotional Punch
Portraying the real-life character of Mollie Kyle, Gladstone prepared viewers of the impact of the film on both women and younger viewers, noting:
“See it when and only if you feel ready and see it with people you feel safe with. You’ll likely have a lot of generational grief to process. You’re not alone. I’m so proud of the film we made with so many Osage Nation leaders, artists, educators & community advocates. Never forget this story is recent history with a lasting impact on breathing, feeling people today. It belongs to them, & we all have so much to learn from it.”
Killers of the Flower Moon
When oil is discovered in 1920s Oklahoma under Osage Nation land, the Osage people are murdered one by one – until the FBI steps in to unravel the mystery.
- Release Date
- October 20, 2023
- Martin Scorsese
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Brendan Fraser, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers
- 206 minutes
- Main Genre