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The Real Story Behind Killers of the Flower Moon, Explained – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

The Real Story Behind Killers of the Flower Moon, Explained



Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, Killers of the Flower Moon, tells a harrowing true story about the murders of members of a Native American tribe and the sinister plot behind them. The movie, which is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2023, premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival and generated a lot of buzz. It received unanimous critical acclaim, and Scorsese and the main cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Lily Gladstone, and Brendan Fraser, received a standing ovation.

Based on David Grann’s shocking book published in 2017, the film centers around the mysterious serial killings of key members of the Osage nation, who became the richest people in the world per capita after petroleum was found under their land. Grann’s book uncovers the revolting conspiracy that nearly destroyed the entire tribe, exposing the greed and wickedness of influential white men and the irresponsibility of authority when dealing with Native American affairs.

Grann’s book mostly focuses on factual information gathered from FBI reports and other archival material disclosed recently, offering an in-depth look at the life of the Osage tribe and the agents designated to investigate. In contrast, Scorsese takes advantage of the speculative magic of movies to blend suggestive facts with real information, following the perspective of the villains with profundity. Scorsese’s innovative cinematic vision promises an impactful movie that will show both sides of the same coin, which makes audiences so excited about Killers of the Flower Moon.

The conspiracy that inspired the movie starts when an exorbitant amount of petroleum is discovered under the seemingly worthless land conceded to the Osage by the government. As wealthy and influential men flocked to the region to get a taste of the oil-rich land, the Osage quickly became the richest nation per capita in the world. However, the government quickly established strict laws to unfairly control how the Osage spent their fortune. It didn’t take long before what seemed to be a gift turned into a curse as a wave of mysterious deaths overtook the Osage tribe.

The catalyst for the disturbing case was the death of Anna Brown, murdered in cold blood with a gunshot to the head. Anna was the sister of Mollie Burkhart, a kind-hearted Osage who was inevitably at the center of the conspiracy. After years of negligence on the local and state authority’s end, federal agents were called in as the FBI began to take shape. The investigation led to a shocking truth: the murders that surpassed 20 confirmed Osage dead were orchestrated by the wealthy rancher William Hale, the so-called “King of the Osage Hills.” To make things worse, he was assisted by Ernest Burkhart, Mollie’s husband, and other acquaintances that had always been close to the family that took the hardest blow, not to mention the other seemingly unrelated killings. Mollie herself was the victim of a slow poisoning, supervised by her own husband.

The main cast consists of Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, who play the ruthless William Hale and Ernest Burkhart, respectively, as they plot the disturbing conspiracy against the Osage tribe. Lily Gladstone portrays Mollie Burkhart, who was forced to witness her dear family members taken from her one by one and the father of her children betray her in the worst possible way. Jesse Plemons takes over the role of Tom White, the head of the team of federal agents that cracked the case.

In conclusion, Killers of the Flower Moon is a highly anticipated film that tells a compelling true story of injustice, greed, and murder. With a talented cast and Martin Scorsese’s innovative cinematic vision, the movie promises to be an impactful look at both the victims and villains involved in the conspiracy.

Martin Scorsese’s new film, Killers of the Flower Moonrecounts a disturbing real story about the killings of a Native American tribe and the chilling conspiracy behind them. One of the most anticipated movies of 2023, the film premiered at Cannes International Film Festival and created quite a buzz, per Hollywood Reporterfrom the unanimous critical acclaim to the standing ovation for Scorsese and the main cast, which includes two of the director’s long-term contributors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro, and exciting new faces such as Lily Gladstone and the Oscar winner Brendan Fraser.

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Killers of the Flower Moon is based on a shocking book written by David Grann and published in 2017. The book is centered around the mysterious serial killings of key members of the Osage nation, which became the richest people in the world per capita after petroleum is found under their land. Grann unravels the revolting conspiracy that nearly destroyed the entire tribe, exposing the greed and the wickedness of influential white men and the irresponsibility of authority when dealing with Native American affairs.


The Conspiracy That Inspired Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon

Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the flower moon
Apple TV

Grann’s book covers the story of the Osage murders and their consequences with a compelling authoritative tone, mostly focused on the factual information Grann gathered from FBI reports and other archival material disclosed recently. For this reason, the book offers an in-depth look at the life of the Osage tribe and the agents designated to investigate, while the perspective of the perpetrators is addressed only in the background. On the other hand, Scorsese takes advantage of the speculative magic of movies to blend suggestive facts with real information, following the side of the villains with profundity. Scorsese’s innovative cinematic vision promises an impactful movie that will show both sides of the same coin, which makes audiences so excited about Killers of the Flower Moon.

The conspiracy that inspired the movie starts when an exorbitant amount of petroleum is discovered under the seemingly worthless land conceded to them by the government. As wealthy, influential men stacked up in the region to get a taste of the oil-rich land, the Osage quickly became the richest nation per capita in the world, driving around on chauffeured cars and fur coats — however, the government quickly established strict laws to unfairly control how the Osage spent their fortune. It didn’t take long before what seemed to be a gift turned into a curse as a wave of mysterious deaths overtook the Osage tribe. The catalyst for the disturbing case was the death of Anna Brown, murdered in cold blood with a gunshot to the head.

Related: How Martin Scorsese Went from Crime Thriller to Period Drama

Anna was the sister of Mollie Burkhart, a kindhearted Osage who was inevitably at the center of the conspiracy. After years of negligence on the local and state authority’s end, federal agents were called in as the FBI began to take shape. The investigation led to a shocking truth: the murders that surpassed 20 confirmed Osage dead were orchestrated by the wealthy rancher William Hale, so-called “King of the Osage Hills”. To make things worse, he was assisted by Ernest Burkhart, Mollie’s husband, and other acquaintances that had always been close to the family that took the hardest blow, not to mention the other seemingly unrelated killings. Mollie herself was the victim of a slow poisoning, supervised by her own husband. Grann concludes his retelling of the conspiracy by claiming there’s much more dirt underneath the surface of the case, with many Osage murders left unsolved and plenty of evil men who got away unscathed.

The Real Characters vs. The Main Cast

Leonardo DiCaprio & Robert De Niro in Killers of the Flower Moon
Apple TV+/Paramount Pictures

Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio play the ruthless William Hale and Ernest Burkhart respectively as they plot the disturbing conspiracy against the Osage tribe. Hale was one of the most influential men in the Osage hills and the head of the scheme, manipulating his nephews Bryan and Ernest into turning against the Osage and getting ahold of their fortune. Hale was cold and sophisticated, maintaining his condescending attitude even after getting a life sentence. With his power and influence, Hale would’ve probably walked out of his trial a free man if it weren’t for Ernerst, who pleaded guilty to his offenses.

Mollie Burkhart, played by the talented Lily Gladstone, was forced to witness her dear family members taken from her one by one and the father of her children betray her in the worst possible way. As all of her relatives and friends died around her Mollie was the most tragical victim of the conspirators. Additionally, she was receiving small doses of poison to ensure her death wouldn’t arouse any suspicions. In the end, the perpetrators were stopped and Mollie survived, leading a normal life with her remaining children, but at what cost?

Related: Martin Scorsese’s 10 Highest-Grossing Movies

Jesse Plemons takes over the role of Tom White, the head of the team of federal agents that cracked the case. While the agent is the closest thing to a “protagonist” in the book, since Grann spends a long time covering White’s strategy to gather evidence and ensure the perpetrators are judged fairly, White will have a significantly smaller role in the film. The book offers an in-depth retelling of the birth of the FBI, although Scorsese decides to focus on the chilling details of Hale’s conspiracy from another perspective.

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