2 Best Movies to Watch by James Healy Jr.

Staff & contributors

Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon isn’t a whodunnit; in fact, it’s closer to a who-didn’t-do-it. We know from the very beginning who is responsible for committing the brutal serial murders of wealthy Osage Native Americans in 1920s Oklahoma that the film chronicles: pretty much every single one of their white neighbors, spearheaded by William Hale (a skin-crawling Robert De Niro). Scorsese, most often associated with mafia stories, stealthily suggests here that the most dangerous gang of all is the one into which all these perpetrators have been born. That’s an idea he investigates through the confused loyalties of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart, the Judas-like husband of Mollie (movie-stealer Lily Gladstone), an Osage woman who owns lucrative oil headrights that William wants to fatten his own pockets with. This searing epic — based on a harrowing chapter of real American history — is an unsparing and self-implicating look at complicity and greed in the eye, a monumental movie that cements its maker as one of the greatest to ever do it.

Genre: Crime, Drama, History

Actor: Barry Corbin, Ben Hall, Brendan Fraser, Cara Jade Myers, David Born, Elden Henson, Eric Parkinson, Gabriel Casdorph, Gary Basaraba, Gene Jones, J. C. MacKenzie, Jack White, James Healy Jr., Jason Isbell, Jay Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Jo Harvey Allen, Joe Chrest, Joey Oglesby, John Lithgow, Joshua Close, Justin France, Katherine Willis, Larry Fessenden, Larry Jack Dotson, Larry Sellers, Lee Eddy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Louis Cancelmi, Marko Costanzo, Martin Scorsese, Michael Abbott Jr., Nathalie Standingcloud, Nathaniel Arcand, Nick W. Nicholson, Norma Jean, Pat Healy, Paul Woodiel, Pete Yorn, Robert De Niro, Scott Shepherd, Steve Eastin, Steve Routman, Steve Witting, Sturgill Simpson, Tantoo Cardinal, Tatanka Means, Ted Welch, Victor McCay, Vince Giordano, Wally Welch, Welker White, William Belleau

Director: Martin Scorsese

Rating: R

Miranda’s Victim often feels like two different movies smushed into one. On the one hand, it tells the story of how Trish finds the courage to speak up against her abuser, who happens to be a person of color. On the other hand, it shows us the legal intricacies that led to the founding of what we now know as Miranda Rights. In better hands, these two stories (one emotional and one technical) could’ve worked well together, and they would’ve spoken to the intersectionality at the heart of this complicated case. But instead of going for nuance, instead of exploring the complex racial and gender politics that inform this case, Director Michelle Danner goes in all sorts of odd directions as if herself confused about what the focus should be. 

Breslin is heartbreaking and powerful as Trish, but she’s only given so much to act with. Despite being based on a real person, her character is reduced to trauma and tears—a caricature of abuse—and nothing more. The movie is at its strongest when it converts into pure courtroom drama by the third act. Suddenly, it’s brisk and intelligent, bolstered by the compelling one-two punches of the judge (a commanding Donald Sutherland) and the two lawyers (Ryan Philippe, a revelation, and Luke Wilson, only slightly better here than in his earlier turn in Legally Blonde). As a story about violation and abuse, there’s surprisingly little compassion to be found, despite the title. But as a legal drama, it’s as informative as it can be. 

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Abigail Breslin, Andy Garcia, Brent Sexton, Dan Lauria, Donald Sutherland, Emily VanCamp, Enrique Murciano, James Healy Jr., Jann Ellis, Joshua Bowman, Kyle MacLachlan, Luke Wilson, Mireille Enos, Najah Bradley, Nolan Gould, Ryan Phillippe, Taryn Manning

Director: Michelle Danner