‘Reservation Dogs’ Star Devery Jacobs Slams ‘Flower Moon’ for Osage Characters Who Are ‘Underwritten’ and ‘Helpless Victims’: ‘Watching This Was F—ing Hellfire’

Devery Jacobs, the Indigenous actor best known for playing Elora on three seasons of FX and Hulu’s “Reservation Dogs,” took to X (formerly Twitter) to share the “strong feelings” she had about Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” She called out the $200 million Western crime epic for not portraying its Osage characters with “honor or dignity” and for further dehumanizing them by depicting their deaths. The film is based on a true story and centers around the Reign of Terror, a term given to the murders of at least 60 members of the Osage nation in the late 1920s.

“Being Native, watching this movie was fucking hellfire,” Jacobs wrote. “Imagine the worst atrocities committed against [your] ancestors, then having to sit [through] a movie explicitly filled with them, with the only respite being 30 minute long scenes of murderous white guys talking about/planning the killings.”

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The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart, a World War I veteran who moves to Oklahoma to find work under his uncle William Hale (Robert De Niro). It doesn’t take long for William to convince Ernest to join his scheme to rob the Osage of their extraordinary wealth. Ernest marries an Osage women, Mollie (Lily Gladstone), and her family members become murder targets in William’s scheme.

“It must be noted that Lily Gladstone is an absolute legend and carried Mollie with tremendous grace,” Jacobs wrote. “All the incredible Indigenous actors were the only redeeming factors of this film. Give Lily her goddamn Oscar. But while all of the performances were strong, if you look proportionally, each of the Osage characters felt painfully underwritten, while the white men were given way more courtesy and depth.”

“I don’t feel that these very real [Indigenous] people were shown honor or dignity in the horrific portrayal of their deaths,” she continued. “Contrarily, I believe that by showing more murdered Native women on screen, it normalizes the violence committed against us and further dehumanizes our people.”

Scorsese was open in interviews about how the script for “Killers of the Flower Moon” was overhauled so that it would not merely focus on all the white characters. The original script, based on David Grann’s 2017 non-fiction book, was told from the perspective of the white FBI agents who arrive in Oklahoma to investigate the Osage murders. In the overhauled script, the FBI investigation became a third-act subplot and the bulk of the film was re-focused around Ernest and Mollie’s marriage. However, white characters such as Ernest and William are given predominantly more screentime than Mollie.

“This is the issue when non-Native directors are given the liberty to tell our stories; they center the white perspective and focus on Native people’s pain,” Jacobs wrote, while later adding: “I would prefer to see a $200 million movie from an Osage filmmaker telling this history, any day of the week. I’m sorry, but Scorsese choosing to end on a shot of Ilonshka dances and drumming? It doesn’t absolve the film from painting Native folks as helpless victims without agency.”

“RIP to Mollie, Anna, Minnie, Rita, & all the other very real Osage folks who were murdered over greed,” she concluded. “The pain is real & isn’t limited to the film’s 3hrs and 26 mins.”

Reviews for “Killers of the Flower Moon” have largely been positive, with the film currently boasting a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes from 321 reviews. The film opened to $23 million at the domestic box office, an impressive haul for an R-rated drama that runs three and a half hours.

Read Jacobs’ full thoughts on “Flower Moon” by clicking the first X post below.

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