Leonardo Dicaprio and Lily Gladstone in Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon
(Paramount Pictures/Apple TV+)

Is ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’s Long Runtime Justified?

Killers of the Flower Moon is a strong contender for best film of the year. But does it earn its long runtime?

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The average Hollywood theatrical release runs between 90 minutes (an hour and a half) and 150 minutes (two and a half hours). There can be a lot of variation based on genre expectations—horror films are typically shorter, and comic book films seem determined to all run about two and a half hours, the exceptions being Avengers: Endgame, which was just over three hours long, and the upcoming MCU release The Marvels, which will clock in at just one hour and 45 minutes.

Killers of the Flower Moon, however, clocks in at a whopping 206 minutes, or almost three and a half hours, making it 26 minutes longer than this year’s previous historical epic, Oppenheimer. Thankfully, Killers of the Flower Moon uses every moment of its significant runtime to great effect.

Martin Scorsese’s latest film covers about a decade in Fairfax, Oklahoma, from the start to the end of the Roaring Twenties. It takes time with every scene, every minute driving the plot and characters toward the tragic but inevitable conclusion.

However, the fact that the film makes such great use of every minute makes me wish it had an intermission. I was barely able to make it through the runtime—and I did notice that a few people in the theater had to get up during the film. Bringing back intermissions would allow people time to refresh themselves and their food and beverages so that they don’t miss out on a second of this amazing film, or any other epic movie with an equally long runtime in the future.

Many films of the 1950s and 1960s didn’t clock in at three hours or more, yet they still had intermissions. There are many film trends of those eras that should stay gone, but intermissions should definitely make a comeback.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures / Apple Original Films)


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Author
Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.