An Osage elder has praised Martin Scorsese’s new film “Killers of the Flower Moon” as a successful account of the tragic history of his tribe in early 20th century Oklahoma, saying in a lengthy Twitter thread: “How was the movie? It was excellent. Scorsese even captured some of our humor… No White Savior, nothing needed to be made up.”
Jim Gray, a former Osage tribal leader and descendant of one of the murdered Osage depicted in the film, said he’d been concerned that the film might not capture their history accurately.
“Anxiety was at an all-time high for the Osage people,” he wrote, referring to the film.
“I had legitimate concerns that the movie industry might miss the point of the story beyond the violence, and I was fairly outspoken about it when the bidding war for the movie was going on in 2017,” he tweeted.
But after seeing the film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, he said he was reassured.
“My connection to this story is from multiple perspectives 1) being a direct descendent and namesake to Henry Roan (James Roan) is one reason me and my siblings were allowed to see it in advance. His murder in this film led the FBI to charge Hale for ordering his murder,” Gray tweeted.
The Osage, he said, were invited in as partners, working on making the cultural traditions accurate, in costumes, ceremonies and other details.
“The dignity and care for the Osage perspective was genuine and honest throughout the process and the Osage responded with the kind of passion and enthusiasm that met this historic moment,” he said.
In “Flower Moon,” Robert De Niro plays William “King” Hale, a white landowner in Oklahoma who schemes to steal the Osage’s oil-rich land under the guise of friendship.
The story, based on the book by David Grann, is rooted in history. The Osage were remarkably wealthy residents of Oklahoma in the early 20th century, having been granted land rights where oil was found.
But hundreds were mysteriously murdered, leaving the federal government under J Edgar Hoover to investigate and ultimately convict white conspirators.
You can read Gray’s entire thread praising “Flower Moon” below (be sure to click “read the full conversation on Twitter” for it to unfurl):
I was fortunate enough to get a private screening of the film, Killers of the Flower Moon earlier this month. Having been marginally released from my NDA with the premiere of the film today at Cannes, I have a few thoughts.
— Jim Gray (The former Chief) (@JimGraytweetz) May 20, 2023
The movie will open in theaters in October.