- The movie adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon focuses on the perspective of Mollie, an Osage character, rather than the three perspectives in the book.
- The author, David Grann, supports this decision and believes that a film cannot capture the sweeping history of the book but can still convey the crimes and their impact through the chosen focus.
- Grann approves of the changes made to the script, recognizing that largely focusing on the FBI’s perspective would have misrepresented the history and only shown a small part of the story.
The Killers of the Flower Moon author is proudly defending the movie. Martin Scorsese’s movie portrays the murders of members of the Osage and the aftermath of their brutal and planned deaths. It questions the true justice that the FBI can deliver and the harsh reality of life in 1920s Oklahoma for indigenous people. While the book has a large focus on the FBI’s perspective, Scorsese elected to offer a focus more tailored to the Osage character Mollie.
Author David Grann is more than happy to defend the book changes. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Grann explained that the book offers three different perspectives, which is not necessarily possible in the limited runtime and other limiting realities of making a movie. In fact, the Killers of the Flower Moon creators contacted Grann, and he readily approved of the many changes. Check out his quote below:
So, the book was really told in three points of view. The first point of view was Mollie’s; the second point of view was the FBI’s; and the third point of view was from the present and from the descendants, showing that although the FBI caught a couple of killers, they really had failed to expose the much deeper conspiracy. It was a kind of a triptych of a book and a very sweeping history. It goes all the way back to when the Osage laid claim to the central part of the country and all the way up to the present. In a film, I don’t think that’s possible. You can’t, nor should you. So, I think their decision to focus on that relationship was the right decision.
I remember when they first called me (about changing the focus), I said, “Oh yeah, I would definitely do that.” I never saw the first script, so I don’t really know exactly what it contained. But if you just focus on the second part, it would have been a misrepresentation of the history; it would have only been a slice. I think focusing on this relationship was the right decision because that relationship is also very representational of the crimes that took place. If you can kind of understand that relationship a little bit, you can begin to understand what happened on a macro level. So, I thought that was the right way to go about it.
Scorcese’s Changes In Killers Of The Flower Moon Make Sense
The benefit of books is that they are capable of delving much deeper into the details than a movie can. Though Killers of the Flower Moon‘s 3.5-hour runtime is extensive, it still cannot present the same perspectives as the book. If it attempted to do so, it would lead to jarring perspective changes and could very well take away from the emotional core of Mollie’s relationship with Ernest.
The Killers of the Flower Moon book released in 2017 and is based on a true story.
By focusing heavily on the FBI’s point of view, Scorcese also would have been more dedicated to portraying the white people than the Osage people. It would take away from their screen time, and it would establish that the perspectives of those outside of the victimized culture are more important. By focusing on the Osage, Scorcese ensures that the Killers of the Flower Moon ending is more impactful.
Scorcese also effectively humanizes the Osage people. It can be simple to cast their plight aside in favor of focusing on a murder mystery, but portraying the individual pain that Mollie suffers makes the themes much more effective. It also better proves just how morally abhorrent the killers are, which is a much-needed element when the antagonists are played by such brilliant and star-studded actors. Scorcese’s decision to change Killers of the Flower Moon was an effective and important decision.