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“Killers of the Flower Moon” is the latest film from celebrated filmmaker Martin Scorsese, an epic western crime saga in which real love crosses paths with unspeakable betrayal.

Brought to the big screen by Apple Original Films in conjunction with Paramount Pictures, the film is from a screenplay by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Martin Scorsese, adapted from the best-selling book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI”, by David Grann, a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning writer at The New Yorker magazine.

This true story is set in 1920’s Oklahoma where a series of murders unfolded, targeting wealthy Osage tribe members after oil deposits were discovered on their land, in a plot to strip them of their wealth.

The film is told through the improbable romance of Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), a World War I veteran and the nephew of William Hale (Robert DeNiro), a wealthy cattle rancher and political broker and Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), a Native American in the Osage tribe. 

The Osage tribe, displaced from their original homeland in Ohio, were relocated by the American government to so-called “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma in the 1870s. With the discovery of oil on their reservation in 1894, they became some of the wealthiest people in the world. However, in the early 1920s, dozens of Osage were murdered under mysterious circumstances and their lucrative “headrights” (including shares of oil rights) were inherited by interlopers marrying into families for ulterior motives. 

In 1923, the fledgling FBI stepped in at the request of the Osage, launching one of its earliest homicide investigations, forever etching this case in history.

Experience Authenticity and History 

While planning the project it was crucial to Scorsese that the movie be filmed on location in Oklahoma on the Osage reservation where the murders took place and that he had the full cooperation of the Osage tribe. 

As a result, throughout production, a continuous dialogue with the Osage ensured the film’s cultural and historical accuracy.

The filmmakers also cast Osage actors whenever possible to play the Osage characters in the film, and if that were not feasible (as in the case of Lily Gladstone), every Osage role would be filled by a Native American. The Osage were also hired as artisans and craftspeople and worked on everything from making tapestries for the set decoration to hair styling for actors, contributing their expertise and adding depth to every aspect of the film.

Casting and Crew

With Martin Scorsese at the helm, it’s no surprise that the film boasts a powerhouse crew and an all-star cast. 

Robert De Niro, an acting icon, joins forces with Scorsese for the tenth time, tracing their partnership back to “Mean Streets” in 1973 followed by “Taxi Driver”, “New York, New York”, “Raging Bull”, “Casino”, “GoodFellas” and “The Irishman”.

For Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the lead role of Ernest Burkhart, this film marks their sixth collaboration on a feature film. Previous hits include “Gangs of New York”, “The Departed” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” 

The talented Lily Gladstone, with her Native American heritage, shines as the film’s leading lady. Gladstone is a Native American of Blackfeet and Nimiipuu heritage who grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. Her quiet yet powerful presence brings depth to the story.

“We had a Zoom meeting with her and immediately afterward, Marty was like, ‘She’s it,’” DiCaprio remembers. “She has not only this incredible grace, but, being Native American herself, there was a lot of her perspective in the movie.”

Supporting cast members include Jesse Plemons who plays Texas Ranger Tom White, John Lithgow and Brendan Fraser.

Many of Scorsese’s trusted collaborators worked with him behind the scenes including cinematographer, Rodrigo Prieto, (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Silence,” “The Irishman”), composer Robbie Robertson (“The King of Comedy” and “The Color of Money”) and editor Thelma Schoonmaker (who has collaborated on the majority of Scorsese’s films since 1980’s “Raging Bull,” for which she won her first of three Oscars).

A Cannes Sensation, a possible Oscar contender

“Killers of the Flower Moon” premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in May where it left the audience in awe with a 9-minute standing ovation. Critics are raving about this masterpiece and it’s already generating Oscar buzz, particularly for the outstanding performances of Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone.

Don’t miss the chance to witness this cinematic triumph.  

“Killers of the Flower Moon” opens on Friday, 20 October in cinemas worldwide, including IMAX theatres, for which it has been digitally re-mastered. 

Book your tickets now at Ster-Kinekor or Nu Metro cinemas and embark on a journey into a world of crime, conspiracy, love and betrayal. DM/ML


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