One of the best films of the year, Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is now available to purchase and watch at home this week, landing on digital platforms on Tuesday before it will stream on Apple TV+. Named Best Film and Best Actress for Lily Gladstone by the New York Film Critics Circle last week, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is the latest epic from American master Scorsese, an adaptation of the David Grann book about the Osage Reign of Terror in Oklahoma in the 1920s. Lily Gladstone stars as Mollie Burkhart, a wealthy Osage woman with a claim to oil rights on Osage land, married to a white man, Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) who claims to love and protect her, as Mollie’s family members drop dead of murder and mysterious deaths.
This towering achievement from Scorsese is a searing examination of the white genocidal violence upon which America has been built, and a meta-exploration of the myths around indigenous people that have perpetuated our popular storytelling. It’s also a soul-searching journey into Scorsese’s own oeuvre, in which he has been fixated on stories about the toxic relationships between white men and the crimes they commit. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is not to be missed.
Also available to stream this week is the latest film from Sam Esmail, “Leave the World Behind,” which will stream on Netflix on Friday. The “Mr. Robot” creator tackles the apocalyptic domestic thriller novel by Rumaan Alam, adapting it for the screen. The film stars Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke as a New York City couple who spontaneously rent a luxury home on Long Island for a weekend vacation with their kids. When the owners of the home (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la, playing his daughter), show up unannounced on the doorstep, it results in an uneasy collision of worlds.
Their presence is the harbinger of more unsettling events that sweep over the small town, and it seems the world is breaking down around these two families as they forge an unlikely alliance in the face of what seems to be certain doom. Alam’s novel captured this intimate uncertainty and dread with a visceral prose, and while Esmail imbues the text with more overt bombast than the novel, he maintains what made it so disturbing and unsettling: the unknowingness, the mystery, the surprise intimacy among strangers. The film is a fascinating, entertaining and perhaps prescient look at the fragilities of our own worlds, and uses music in inventive and surprising ways. Roberts and Ali are fantastic, but the entire cast excels.
Also streaming this week: The animated feature “Merry Little Batman” streams on Prime Video Friday. This charming riff on the Caped Crusader features Luke Wilson as the voice of Bruce Wayne, in this story about Bruce’s son, Damien, who dreams of being a superhero, too. The film is directed by “Phineas and Ferb” alum Mike Roth.
For horror fans, streaming on Shudder this Friday is Jenn Wexler’s holiday horror “The Sacrifice Game.” Set in 1971, a gang of cult killers arrives at Blackvale School for Girls over the holiday break. Queue it up for a break from the Christmas cheer.