- The ending scene of Killers of the Flower Moon, with a radio announcer revealing the fate of the characters, aims to show how brutal murders can become a form of entertainment, and viewers are complicit in that.
- Killers of the Flower Moon director Martin Scorsese chose to make a cameo as the radio announcer because he felt he was the most suitable person due to his experience living among the Osage people.
- Killers of the Flower Moon ending highlights the movie’s self-awareness and recognizes the inherent flaws and complexities in portraying a tragic historical event, opening the door for discussions and critiques of the film’s portrayal.
Director Martin Scorsese details the ending of Killers of the Flower Moon at great length. While the movie’s final shot shows a birds-eye view of a powwow, the last spoken dialogue takes place years after the main events of Killers of the Flower Moon. In the Killers of the Flower Moon ending, Scorsese plays a radio announcer who reads off some of the outcomes of the Osage murder as if to frame a true-crime story, which concludes with details about Mollie’s death and obituary.
While speaking at a Killers of the Flower Moon screening with AMPAS and guild members (via The Playlist), Scorsese offers an in-depth explanation as to why he chose to end the crime thriller in this way. He wanted to show the sense that brutal murders can become “entertainment” and that viewers, like Scorsese himself, are “complicit in that.” Scorsese also spoke about his decision to make a cameo as the radio announcer. Though he was somewhat surprised that SAG agreed to let him do it, he felt that he was the best person to do it given the amount of time he had spent living among the Osage people. Check out the full quote from Scorsese below:
“Well, the thing was that from the book, it is the birth of the FBI. Right? And so the FBI needed propaganda. And so they went on the radio and I grew up listening to the radio before we had TV. So, I listened to ‘Gang Busters’ and shows like that. And I thought, well, wouldn’t it be great if this thing, all this has happened, people have died, tragedy, suffering, anguish and all this. And it became a radio show…and in a sense it became entertainment. And we, again, it’s my own, I’m not accusing anyone, but the point is, it’s my own belief of being complicit in that, enjoying the entertainment. And even this film is entertainment in that sense. You know what I mean? I try to make it as truthful as possible, as honest, I should say, as possible. And therefore, I said we have to end it with one of those radio shows where you see after all this, that’s what the American public was led to think of or believe of the situation. And in the middle of the show, it suddenly becomes an epilogue because if it’s really 1936 in a radio studio, what is he telling you? How could the announcer know that Bill Hale [De Niro’s character] died at the age of 87? Suddenly you make a little trick to move on.”
“And then we had the obit and I didn’t know if I could direct the actor to do that. And having lived with the Osage and everybody there in Oklahoma for so long, I felt I had to try it myself. We’re lucky SAG said [‘O.K.’] or we couldn’t have been talking [Laughs]. I got a little bit of a waiver for that I heard, but there are only 36 seconds. But I said, ‘Listen, let me do it. If it doesn’t work, I know the angle. I can get another actor to do it.’ But as it was doing it, I kind of felt it. And I also felt that in a way, as I say, my own complicity in life and the world as it exists, trying to have compassion for it. Those who are suffering in the world, that’s all.”
Killers Of The Flower Moon’s Ending Might Redeem Some of Its Criticism
Killers of the Flower Moon is universally acclaimed by critics, but its reception is far more complicated. Before the movie’s release, the crime thriller got copious press for its effort in re-centering the script on Mollie and the Osage people at its heart. Despite this effort, Killers of the Flower Moon has received backlash for its brutal depiction of the Native women at its heart. Indigenous actor Devery Jacobs, for example, called the film “unrelenting and unnecessarily graphic” and said elements “further dehumanize our people.”
Scorsese’s recent commentary indicates that Killers of the Flower Moon has at least one major redeeming quality regarding the content’s self-awareness. Scorsese recognizes that “even this film is entertainment” since it dramatizes a series of horrific crimes. In that recognition, Scorsese acknowledges some of the inherent follies that Killers of the Flower Moon succumbs to, even in its valiant attempt to right the wrongs of staying silent about the Osage murder tragedy.
The ending scene of Killers of the Flower Moon realizes the inherently imperfect conceit of the movie’s story with the acknowledgment of the power of the media to destructively sensationalize tragic pasts. The creator understands the complex social responsibility he has, and by ending in that way, actively opens and welcomes a discourse of Killers of the Flower Moon critique.
Source: The Playlist
Killers of the Flower Moon
- Martin Scorsese
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Louis Cancelmi, Jillian Dion, Scott Shepherd, Jesse Plemons, JaNae Collins, Robert De Niro, Jason Isbell, Cara Jade Myers, Lily Gladstone
- History, Drama, Crime
- Eric Roth, Martin Scorsese
- Killers of the Flower Moon is the next film from director Martin Scorsese, based on the non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, initially captured by David Grann. When members of the Osage tribe are murdered in the 1920s via mysterious circumstances shortly after the discovery of oil on Native-American soil, the FBI is established to uncover the true reason behind them.
- $200 million
- Paramount Pictures
- Apple, Paramount Pictures