Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Best of 2023, #4: Killers of the Flower Moon

It is almost inconceivable how much better this movie is than The Irishman. After that movie, I was convinced that Martin Scorsese was a pitiful shell of his former self, now devoid of all filmmaking talent. That movie was three hours of wall-to-wall voiceover, terrible CGI and egregious miscasting.

I had little hope that he had regained any talent when I heard the even-more-elephantine runtime of this movie. 206 minutes! I refused to watch it in the theater simply because my bladder isn’t that big. If he had allowed an intermission, which the film desperately needed, I would have gone.

When I finally streamed the movie at home, I was stunned by how good this is. The runtime just flies by. In fact, it flies by a little too quickly. Ultimately, I feel that this should have been a six-hour miniseries, not a three-and-half hour movie, since the FBI portion of the movie feels a little sped up. Every time we check in on the investigation, it’s jumped forward several steps without us. The way that Scorsese does it here does work, but it also could have worked if it played out slower in an alternate six-hour version. (Partly, I just wanted to see more of the investigation because Jesse Plemons is a national treasure.)

Given how beautiful the cinematography is in the film, I wish an intermission had allowed me to see it in the theater. It’s gorgeous. Amazingly, it’s the same cinematographer as Barbie, when the look could not be more polar opposite! And the music by the late Robbie Robertson is astounding. I would watch one of those DVD tracks where they just play the score without any other audio.

Scorsese’s cameo at the end sure made this feel like his farewell to the screen, and it would be a great high note to go out on. The Irishman was a self-parody of all of his worst habits turned up to 11. This movie feels more like a greatest hits. He’s made so many Great American Crime Pictures, and it all built up to a movie about the original American crime, the stealing of land from Native Americans. All other crimes flowed from that one.

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