Well, team, we’ve accomplished a feat. We sat through the entirety of Martin Scorsese’s epic “Killers of the Flower Moon,” enduring three hours and twenty-six minutes without a restroom break. And when the inevitable UTI strikes, we might find ourselves strangely grateful to him for this cinematic marathon.
Yet, Scorsese isn’t the lone director to test the endurance of audiences with lengthy films this year. Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” also pushed the three-hour mark, but the turnout was substantial enough to rake in over $942 million at the box office. Similarly, since Marty’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” hit theaters over the weekend, it’s garnered a very commendable $44 million.
Does this signal the end of the era of questioning, “Why are movies so long these days?” Judging from audience reactions, it seems so. “@anyatastic” on Twitter described it as “like a slow drip of liquid evil,” yet admitted to being utterly transfixed throughout. CraigMinett shared a similar sentiment, emphasizing how engrossing the story was, making the three-plus hours seem to vanish.
Even for those who did feel the runtime, there’s a belief that Scorsese intended it this way, a deliberate move from one of the greatest directors of all time. “@xtinatucker” argued that the exhaustion and strain felt by viewers is precisely the point.
Regardless of whether you believe “Killers of the Flower Moon” is a cinematic masterpiece or an overhyped endeavor, enduring it likely earns you a commendation. Yet, if a three-and-a-half-hour film is considered an achievement, what about one that spans five hours? Seven hours? Or, dare we mention it, fourteen hours?
While “Killers” may be Scorsese’s second-longest non-documentary film, falling behind “The Irishman” with its 3 hours and 48 minutes, it’s a mere drop in the bucket compared to the lengthiest films ever made. The reigning champion in cinematic length is “Resan,” a Swedish documentary released in 1987, which scrutinizes nuclear weapons and military expenditures over the course of several years. So, at least we can say the world’s lengthiest film touches on a cheery subject. Even the shortest film on this extensive list, “Tsahal,” clocks in at five hours and four minutes, putting “Killers of the Flower Moon” nowhere near the definition of a ‘long’ movie.
Originally, Scorsese’s latest project was slated to be even longer, but he made trims, as it felt too much like a “police procedural.” Had he retained those scenes, perhaps he might have secured a spot on this illustrious list.
Speaking personally, I’m not particularly perturbed by extended runtimes. However, some of these films would surely test my endurance in a single sitting. With “Killers of the Flower Moon,” at least there are ample opportunities for a bathroom break (for what it’s worth, the best time in my opinion is when Leo DiCaprio faces FBI interrogation). Who knows, perhaps this will reignite the overdue discussion about whether intermissions should return to the cinema experience?