Tag Archives: Lily Gladstone

Eavesdropping at the Movies: 403 – Killers of the Flower Moon

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Based on true events, Killers of the Flower Moon tells a story that invokes the foundational genocide upon which the USA was built, but has its own peculiarities. The Osage Nation, a Native American tribe and unusually the owners of their reservation in Oklahoma, became extraordinarily wealthy in the early 20th century upon finding their land gushing oil – but in pursuit of their riches, the white population in the region devised a plan to rob them of their individual land rights, which were only allowed to be inherited. In telling this story, Killers of the Flower Moon justifies its three and a half hours of runtime – though there’s no reason not to include an intermission! – and Leonardo DiCaprio, in particular, has never been better.

We discuss the specific events depicted and the wider history to which they relate and that they evoke in microcosm; the complexities in DiCaprio’s character, who participates knowingly in hideous crimes but truly loves his wife, whose community and family he’s devastating, all the while not quite having the mental acuity to understand the full extent of what he’s involved in; the quality and qualities of the performances and characterisations; the visual design, effects of lighting, and evocation of the feeling of so many mid-20th century Westerns through subtle and specific elements of the cinematography; and the idiosyncratic ending and what it has to say to its audience.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.


Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2017)


I want to write on this great film in the greater length it deserves. But for now, in the absence of time and to encourage as many people as possible to see it: Kelly Reichardt is the great poet of contemporary American cinema. The West, the poor, marginalised or oppressed; a loneliness and ache lived against wonders of nature are some of her themes. Here, three interlinked stories of four women in Montana, framed through windows, or from outside the windshields of their cars, always near but always separated by something, at a distance, some trying to help, some trying to cheat, some oblivious to the passions they incite; all doing their best in difficult and often lonely circumstances. From the beginning, when you see Laura Dern framed in a circular mirror on the edge of the frame whilst the back of her adulterous lover occupies a larger portion of the rest, their looking at each other fractured for us through peeks at mirrors, the compositions are superbly expressive.  Certain Women is so beautiful, visually and narratively, and the actors so superb: it will be a long time before I forget the image of Lily Gladstone’s beautiful face, stars in her eyes as she gazes longingly at Kristen Stewart. What a great film.


José Arroyo