This happens to a lot of people, but at least I could… get rid of it.
At the beginning of Martin Scorsese’s historical drama Killers of the Flower MoonThere is a quiet moment between Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the woman he will eventually marry, Osage heiress Molly (Lily Gladstone). Scorsese’s engaging drama makes it clear that this relationship won’t end well, but the soundtrack shimmers strangely, as if it’s the beginning of a great romance. Then the words began:
…karma is my guy
Karma is god
Karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekends.
Karma is a relaxing thought
Aren’t you jealous that this is not the case for you?
I haven’t actually heard the late, great Robbie Robertson’s score for Killers of the Flower Moon – I was bleeding from Taylor Swift: Eras Tour I play next door. And I’d keep getting this bleeding everywhere The killersbecause although “Karma” marks the end Eras Touraccording to the set list, the film resumed immediately. At 169 minutes, it’s just 37 minutes shorter than Scorsese’s epic, one of the few films currently broadcast that comes anywhere close to the drama’s 206-minute running time.
Through conversations with friends and colleagues, social media postsand collected observations of the theater’s layout and show schedule, I realized that I was far from alone. Sound power Taylor Swift: Eras Tour permeates Martin Scorsese’s meditative masterpiece in multiplexes, creating a miasma of cinematic emotion that no artist could have foreseen.
On the one hand, this is extremely annoying. One of the reasons we go to the cinema is that it supposedly allows us to watch films as the filmmakers intended, optimally presented in a space free of distractions. Killers of the Flower Moon grapples with a horrifying real-life chapter of American history. It’s a quiet and campy film, perhaps more so than Scorsese fans might expect. Listening to “Blank Space” while the Osages are being systematically murdered can seem at worst disrespectful and at best grotesquely funny.
And the sound overlap itself is quite funny. Two very different reasons to go to the movies merge as “Wildest Dreams” is barely audible in wide-angle shots of the Oklahoma plains. This is the offline version of online media, where context collapse is normal and random juxtaposition can lead to darkly comic results.
I didn’t really like watching Killers of the Flower Moon that way, but I didn’t hate it either. It was like a series of intrusive thoughts that I learned to turn off by thinking about something that I found interesting and worthwhile. There I was pondering the parasitic nature of white entrepreneurs in the homelands, and unbidden, I thought about one YouTube video where the guy who did the viral voice of Gollum performed the song “I Knew You Were Trouble” because I heard several bars the songs came from the theater next to me during a quieter moment. But I also grew up in a loud house, so I can rely on muscle memory here.
I don’t think anyone should deliberately try to see Killers of the Flower Moon Here. I don’t believe I gained any insight from this auditory fluke that I wouldn’t have gained had I watched each film in a more soundproof environment. Someone else can! There may be real The dark side of the rainbow/Another brick in Wall-E the potential is here. Perhaps when both films are available digitally someone will make a version of Taylor’s Killers of the Moon. By chance, in a movie theater? Not ideal.
But I don’t think that’s a reason to stay home. Like Eras Tour, Killers of the Flower Moon deserves to be seen on the biggest screen. A slight inconvenience due to the fact that sometimes you can overhear a track from 1989 (or, God forbid, Reputation) is worth the trade-off.
Perhaps theater managers who read this article (feel free to pass it along if you know of any) will take note of this kind of audio leakage problem and try to make it less of a normal occurrence. Exhibitors, please take note of Taylor’s words: you need to calm down. You’re talking too loud.