Scorsese is back with another historical drama with a keen eye for historical accuracy, getting memorable performances from his actors, and highlighting the depths of human depravity intermingled with complex relationships, love, and deep, deep emotions. And throughout the entire runtime of Killer of the Flower Moon, I kept being reminded of one film: There Will Be Blood (2007).
Maybe one day Now Playing Podcast will get around to more of Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies. If they do, I think they’ll find that in almost all of them, we have complex, deep, nuanced characters that are at various levels of depravity. Sometimes they are still slightly lovable, like Barry in Punch-Drunk Love. And other times, there are wicked, downright evil, like Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. If you enjoyed trying to understand and parse through the conflicting actions of DiCaprio’s character, Ernest, in Killers of the Flower Moon, then you’ll see that mode of performance mastered by Daniel Day-Lewis in Anderson’s film. Plainview is wicked but driven. We come to understand his motivations, even as we’re disgusted by him. We see him destroy the lives of those around him, not unlike Ernest.
So if you’re captivated by strong characters with complex motivations, wonderfully performed by excellent actors, set in the early 20th century, then see There Will Be Blood. You probably already have, but in case you haven’t, take this as your sign that you should.