“In the early 1920s, Osage Indians where the richest people, per capita, on the planet.”
Director Martin Scorsese’s ambitious, masterfully pointed epic brings to the fore the egregious, manipulative murders perpetrated (for profit) on a tribe that inhabited oil rich land; calculated killings of those Indians, whose marriages to white spouses, gifted the survivors of the deceased, a preordained inheritance. The brilliant, but oftentimes, flawed film, rests in the capable talents of actors: Robert DeNiro, in an iconic performance as ringleader of the murder squad, William Hale; with forked-tongued, counterfeit spirituality, he lures the unsuspecting into his evil realm of deceit; DeNiro has never been more authoritative or convincing than this glib, “Elmer Gantry”, swindler, killer; Leonardo DiCaprio also persuasive as Hale’s artless nephew Ernest Burkhart; his perpetual, plastic, frown eventually waned as a legitimate artifice; Lily Gladstone, never wavers in her profound depiction of Mollie Burkhart, the beloved, Indian wife of Ernest.
Based on the 2017 acclaimed book, of the same title, by David Grann viewers are privy to the FBI’s formidable reach; the diabetes affliction “wasting disease”, prevalent in Native Americans, insulin injections lending a possible cure; plight of a peoples’ neglected in history books. Martin Scorsese is to be hailed, regardless of length (3h 26 m), for the unveiling of atrocities, and the reckoning of the perpetrators and their eventual accountability.