“Killers of the Flower Moon” (R)
At the Cinemark
Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is drawing praise from critics, while simultaneously reigniting an important cultural debate about art.
Does an artist from a dominant culture have a right to tell/appropriate the story of those who were oppressed? Or should the definitive account always emanate from the culture of the victims?
I first heard that question posed by a Canadian college student studying Native issues. She’s an admirer of Scorsese, but believes he is the wrong voice to speak the tragedy of the Osage Nation.
A second related question is also emerging: Why are the Indigenous victims delegated to background in a story focused on the white killers?
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Ultimately, “Flower Moon” cannot be judged without resolving a fundamental question: Does it do justice to Indigenous history, then and now?
So let’s dismiss the issue of quality quickly, even cavalierly: Scorsese is in full control, and “Flower Moon” is a masterful achievement. One caveat: I found the “radio-theatre” ending unsatisfying, in a 206-minute story