206 minutes. That’s the listed running time for Martin Scorsese’s new movie Killers of the Flower Moon, also known as 3 hours and 26 minutes. Yes, it can certainly be daunting when a movie’s running time begins with a “2.” Especially when it isn’t a quick, breezy three hours, like past long Scorsese movies like Goodfellas, Casino, and The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s about sad and horrific events from the past.
But… that’s okay. Killers of the Flower Moon is a fantastic movie, and it uses its 206 minutes well. Scorsese has been making super-sized movies for a very long time, but he’s very good at it, and he’s earned the right to do so.
The Irishman, Scorsese’s previous feature film, was three minutes longer. Scorsese has also made several documentaries, like A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, My Voyage to Italy, No Direction Home, and George Harrison: Living in the Material World, which were even longer.
“THE GREAT DEBATE: With a runtime of 3 and a half hours, is Killers of the Flower Moon TOO long – and would this put you off seeing it?” The Mail asked, in which by their standards is actually an unusually short headline.
Oppenheimer, which arrived this summer and also featured a combination of a three-hour running time and an often-dark story from 20th-century history, was also a massive box office performer, indicating that moviegoers aren’t shying away from long historical epics.
Also this year? Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid ran for 179 minutes. John Wick: Chapter 4 was 170. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I was 164 minutes. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny went 155. It appears we’re in an era of long movies – and most of them have been worth it. Not Dial of Destiny, but all the others were.
So, what exactly are we arguing about here? Those wanting to see a more than three-hour Martin Scorsese picture know what they’re going to get, and it seems a lot of them have chosen in favor of the film.
In the months to come, especially as awards season approaches, there will be a great deal of arguments about Killers of the Flower Moon. Some will be worthwhile, like questions of the film’s representation, and others won’t be, like the latest tiresome round of Marty vs. Marvel. But the film’s length is certainly not a real problem with it.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.