Is the (almost) 3.5 hours of Killers of the Flower Moon really necessary? | Movie

Killers of the Flower Moon and the ever-increasing length of films. Is this really necessary?

In an increasingly labor-intensive cinematic process, we are increasingly faced with river films. The three-hour duration is almost normalized, it is no longer a scandal, even when you have to wear 3D glasses. If it seems that films are getting longer and longer in length, we must remember that infinite works have always existed, even when the cost of producing a copy of a film was measured in meters of film.

Blockbuster is long. This is not such a commandment, but it is close to it. Four o’clock gone With the Wind they are part of his legendary status. Same for Once upon time in Americawhose 251-minute extended director’s cut, released in 2012, was practically a cinephile’s rite of passage. Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Spartacus, The apocalypse has arrivedbut also sagas about Lord of the Rings He was born in Godfather they are considered examples of cinema at its maximum power. This inevitably also includes exceeding 180 minutes.

There is a lot of talk about cinematic experiences, about premium viewing formats (as if huge screens are associated with very long films). Industry research has shown that there is a greater propensity to purchase a ticket if going to the theater is perceived as an event. A film like this, spanning the length of two “regular” films directed by a master of cinema, is an ideal model for a “premium” theater transformation. This is from a market point of view. However, for the viewer the question is different, less sophisticated and more specific: was there such a need?

Answer: “not always.” When Killers of the Flower Moon Well, yes”.

Time of the Flower Moon Killers

Killers of the Flower Moon

The film consists of three acts of varying lengths. In the first two hours, Martin Scorsese explores the coexistence of the Osages and the whites who came here for oil. There is a station and a train that brings workers. There are streets full of extras, very lively in every corner of the frame.

William Hale, played by Robert De Niro, is in charge of all the affairs of the city. He appears everywhere, helps families in difficult situations, knows everything. However, at this point the point of view is that of Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) returning from the war. He comes to Oklahoma and must piece together the pieces of his life. Find a house, a woman, a job. The idea, imposed by his uncle, is to achieve the American dream through oil and move along in parallel with his ascent through the Osage family system. Through him, Scorsese ensures that we feel like Hale is leading us by the hand to discover every corner that serves as the stage for the story.

In front of everyone, a series of suspicious deaths occur that undermine the coexistence of the two peoples. This is a long research section that works on a subconscious level. It’s full of unspoken things, of characters we never quite know: how much do they know? How long do they not talk? How involved are they?

In the second part there comes a turning point, which lasts just under an hour. It is marked by the arrival of the FBI, which is interested in what is happening in this territory of a more civilized and urbanized America, far from the law. At this point, Martin Scorsese takes the reins of the film and begins to move it in the direction closest to his theater. It’s as if the script, having reached this point, bounced back and came back very quickly. We repeat the path we have walked so far in reverse order. Details, solutions, little truths emerge that make up the pieces of many almost complete puzzles that were only missing one or two pieces. That is, the true nature of the characters.

The final section is about moral calculation. The conclusions are drawn on completely Scorsesian themes: guilt, cowardice, corruption and greed. Is there a chance for last-second redemption? Can men change their nature? This is the shortest part of the film, but it gives meaning to the whole thing. It comes in the last half hour. Something that seemed excessive before entering the hall (prejudice) and which at the end of the viewing turns out to be fundamental.

Why does Martin Scorsese need all this time?

Time is his obsession. He said this recently in a promotional interview. A director at the end of his career, for obvious age reasons, has to deal with a limited living space. He would like to have time to talk about other things, but even watching his films to check information becomes an operation that forces him to give up caring for his wife or other loved ones. We invite you to read here to find out more.

The thing is, when a director is so pressed for time… he can’t waste time. Even in a three and a half hour film. How Killers of the Flower Moon this is a film born out of necessity, in which every scene is shot as it sees fit. Neither more nor less, we do not have enough energy to experiment, we do not have enough time to make mistakes.

Martin Scorsese Killers of the Flower Moon

If this is a substantial and measured movie, why go overboard?

The answer comes through the lens through which this story of crime, murder and wealth is read. Killers of the Flower Moon this is a film that never denies that it is made from a future looking back. We start from the streets (as always) to look for the reasons and individuals who built the nation. Who left their blood or even their life on this grass. Who fought for everything to change.

Martin Scorsese needs time for this. Instead of perceiving the characters as real people (this is not necessary, in fact, it is almost harmful), the viewer needs to immerse itself, to feel like one of them. In the first two hours, the direction introduces us to the logic of this world. For every character that leaves the stage, another one enters. It’s difficult to follow the family connections, but then, once you get the hang of it, you travel through the film, knowing the corners of the city, keeping precise distances, observing facts from windows.

To tell the story of two opposing sides who claim to be well united in a relationship of peaceful coexistence between “neighbors”, the corresponding rituals are of interest. Not by chance Killers of the Flower Moon it is a film full of ceremonies, both religious and secular, such as an invitation to dinner or a meeting to make decisions and vote. The duration of each of these moments is significant. A crime scene analysis that is brief has a different meaning than an investigation that takes a long time (i.e., significant government disinterest). Likewise, a very powerful scene in the silence as we listen to the storm is a moment of suspension and focused attention that will resonate in all subsequent scenes in which the characters seem completely unable to listen and see the harsh reality.

killer moonflower lily gladstone

Can Killers of the Flower Moon be considered a TV series?

You don’t stop your emotions– said a well-known campaign against television advertising. Killers of the Flower Moon produced by Apple TV+. It had to appear directly on the platform before a decision was made on its theatrical release. For streaming, the times are completely different, we are used to watching short things (50-minute episodes of a series) for a long time (perhaps watching half a season in one session).

Thus, you can watch Martin Scorsese’s film at home without losing much, as long as the system is decent. Entertainment, the overwhelming power of special effects, is not his prerogative. What changes is the level of immersion and concentration. This is a film that requires active participation. He does not seduce those who do not want to follow him, he conquers those who try to understand his story. Stopping a movie, doing something else, and continuing to watch as if you were watching a TV series will affect the viewing experience.

The darkness of the room helps you take this step, devoting three thirty hours exclusively to the screen. It is more difficult, but not impossible, to do the same when watching at home, when the intercom rings and a cell phone is turned on nearby. In any case, unlike binge-watching 4 episodes of a series, Killers of the Flower Moon Has a film structure. Time, manipulated by Martin Scorsese, is a current that pulls and to which one must surrender without resistance. From start to finish, possibly without interruption. You will be repaid.

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