Martin Scorsese’s passion for storytelling through the lens has led him to become one of the most celebrated directors in the history of cinema. Martin Scorsese’s filmography boasts an impressive array of masterpieces, each contributing to his legacy as a cinematic maestro.
His recent film Killers of the Flower Moon is an epic Western crime drama based on David Grann’s 2017 book of the same name. Scorsese has described the film as “a love story, a crime story, and a historical epic” that explores themes of greed, betrayal, and the resilience of the human spirit. The one thing that to some extent the new generation of moviegoers found difficult is the pace of the film. Martin Scorsese addressed this point in an interview.
Martin Scorsese Talks about the pace of his Movie
One major point about Killers of the Flower Moon is its lengthy runtime. The film runs for 206 minutes. Speaking to The Irish Times, Martin Scorsese said he was inspired by Ari Aster, an indie filmmaker who mainly works in the horror genre.
For Scorsese, two of ‘newcomer‘ Ari Aster’s horror films, Midsommar and Beau Is Afraid worked as the inspiration for the American auteur to get the right tempo for Killers of the Flower Moon.
“I very much like the style and pacing of good horror films like Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’ or ‘Beau Is Afraid,’” Scorsese said.“The pacing of those films goes back to the B films of Val Lewton, Jacques Tourneur’s ‘Cat People’ or ‘I Walked With a Zombie.’ Just going a little slower. A little quieter.”
Set in 1920s Oklahoma, Killers of the Flower Moon describes the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.
Good Pace is Important, but Including all the Necessary Elements is Also Important
Though, it’s true that many Gen Z audiences do not want to watch a movie for a period of three hours. Martin Scorsese talked about this issue while chatting with an Indian media outlet earlier. He stated:
“People say it’s three hours, but come on, you can sit in front of the TV and watch something for five hours. Also, there are many people who watch theater for 3.5 hours. There are real actors on stage, you can’t get up and walk around. You give it that respect. Give cinema some respect.”
For Scorsese, a film’s pacing is very important to guarantee that the story is both entertaining and hitting the necessary beats to highlight the core of the story. In the interview with the Irish Times regarding his new film runtime and pace, Scorsese says,
“I was very concerned about allowing scenes that were not narrative into the story, scenes to do with the Osage culture—leaving in those scenes of custom, like the baby namings, the funerals, and the weddings—so we could begin to understand a little more about the people. I felt confident that a lot of people would allow themselves to be immersed in the world of the film. One has to take these chances. At this age, what else can I do?”
A good pace is paramount in filmmaking. It keeps the audience engaged, sustains their interest, and provides a dynamic viewing experience. However, it should not come at the expense of omitting essential elements in a film. Cutting out necessary character arcs or backstories in the name of pace can result in shallow, less relatable characters.
Filmmakers like Martin Scorsese know both aspects. And, people so far found the movie as one of Scorsese’s best films in years.
Killers of the Flower Moon is running in theaters.