While Killers of the Flower Moon is raking in critical acclaim and box office receipts, some members of the indigenous community are expressing their dismay with the film.
On Monday, Devery Jacobs, who plays Elora Danan Postoak on Reservation Dogs, shared her “painful” experiences watching the film on social media.
“I HAVE THOUGHTS. I HAVE STRONG FEELINGS,” began the thread she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This film was painful, grueling, unrelenting and unnecessarily graphic. Being Native, watching this movie was f—ing hellfire. Imagine the worst atrocities committed against yr ancestors, then having to sit thru a movie explicitly filled w/ them, w/ the only respite being 30min long scenes of murderous white guys talking about/planning the killings.”
In a 15-post thread, the actress addressed specific reasons for her criticism while also crediting the achievements of director Martin Scorsese and why the film might hold interest for cinephiles. However, she criticized the violence depicted onscreen for not allowing any “honor or dignity in the horrific portrayal” of the deaths of the real people being represented. “Contrarily, I believe that by showing more murdered Native women on screen, it normalizes the violence committed against us and further dehumanizes our people,” she continued.
Jacobs noted she was particularly perturbed by the effusive reaction to the film online. “And to top it off; to see the way that film nerds are celebrating and eating this shit up? It makes my stomach hurt,” she wrote. “I can’t believe it needs to be said, but Indig ppl exist beyond our grief, trauma & atrocities. Our pride for being Native, our languages, cultures, joy & love are way more interesting & humanizing than showing the horrors white men inflicted on us.”
Jacobs did include praise for Lily Gladstone, who portrayed Hokti on two episodes of Reservation Dogs. “It must be noted that Lily Gladstone is a an absolute legend & carried Mollie w/ tremendous grace,” Jacobs added. “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.”
She concluded by making a call for more indigenous people behind the camera, stating that it would have made a meaningful difference in the way the events of the film are portrayed. “For the Osage communities involved in creating this film; I can imagine how cathartic it is to have these stories and histories finally acknowledged, especially on such a prestigious platform like this film. There was beautiful work done by so many Wazhazhe on this film. But admittedly, I would prefer to see a $200 million movie from an Osage filmmaker telling this history, any day of the week.”
On Reservation Dogs Jacobs played one of four indigenous teens living in modern-day Oklahoma dealing with grief, coming of age, and reservation life. It was the first American television series to feature entirely indigenous directors and writers.
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