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RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane Reviews

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Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

February 12, 2012
Having watched this directly after first experiencing Citizen Kane, I found RKO to be insightful, informative, and rewarding. Liev Schreiber was great as Orson Wells, as was John Malkovich. The film had its limitations, it was only focused on the creation of, and aftermath of, Citizen Kane; I wish it had been more expansive in its look at Welles. The depiction of Hearst also felt inadequate, but it was passable considering the short running time. That said, what time the film did spend on both characters was effective. Overall a good film, and definitely a good companion piece to Citizen Kane.

3.5/5 Stars
Sean G

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2011
Another great HBO independent film.
Marion R

Super Reviewer

January 29, 2009
I am an Orson Welles fan, so I found it really interesting.
Wu C

Super Reviewer

August 6, 2008
Very good movie about the making of 'Citizen Kane'.
January 11, 2012
Gave this one a re-watch in advance of checking out Citizen Kane on Blu-ray, and I really love how well it holds up and gives you the mood surrounding the controversial release of Welles' masterpiece.

I have to say that James Cromwell's portrayal of William Randolph Hearst is the highlight for me here, he simply oozes contempt when faced with the young upstart Welles, and I honestly don't know who seems more full of themselves.

Recommended.
January 8, 2012
I still prefer the documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane", but for a dramatization this is definitely a good film. It has a little bit of the camp feel that television movies until recently possessed but Liev Schreiber as Welles and Cromwell as Randolph Heart are enough fun to watch in their respective roles to ignore several of the routine trappings of biopics this film seems to possess. It does seem to be going through the motions of the story with some emoting here or there, but the performance element is overall good when it is present, and it is an informative film in regards to the history of a film lauded by several as one of the best ever made.
December 31, 2011
Eh, just not terribly gripping. Not bad but wouldn't recommend anybody go out of their way to see it. Mostly just made me want to watch the actual Citizen Kane.
MovieGuruDude72
August 16, 2011
A decent film showcasing the drama and Hollywood politics the great Orson Welles had to overcome to film his masterpiece, Citizen Kane. Liev Schreiber is an excellent actor but he's a bit too menacing for this role. Other than that I had no issues with this film. A good cast (aside from Melanie Griffith, God she's terrible) with a good script and good direction from Benjamin Ross. The cinematography is dated well enough to make it look authentic to a point. Worth a viewing if you're a fan of Kane and/or Welles.
April 19, 2007
It definitely has the feel of a TV movie and was a lot better than Citizen Kane itself. Liev's portrayal of Orson is spot-on and an interesting watch. B-.
July 18, 2014
It's a good movie for those who are intersted in the history of cinema or just Welles fan.
November 1, 2013
The fascinating character of Orson Welles and his struggles to bring his masterpiece Citizen Kane make for an interesting fast paced TV focusing on the conflict between Welles and William Randolph Hearst, whose real life personality bore and exceptional resemblance to the Charles Foster Kane character of the movie. Perhaps a little interest in the subject is required, and a little too much melodrama is added here and there, but this is an interesting film that captures a rare glimpse of a genius at work and the artist's love for his own work of art in a genuine and realistic way.
cakesandtrucks
May 18, 2012
All around great cast that left me wanting more and is a complimentary supplement to your Citizen Kane movie night.
May 11, 2012
If you like Orson Welles you will find this interesting. Otherwise...avoid.
April 16, 2012
RKO 281 is about the struggle Orson Welles (Liev Schreiber) had with making Citizen Kane, later declared to be one of the greatest films ever made. His trouble is largely with William Randolph Hearst (James Cromwell), the newspaper tycoon that Kane is blatantly modeled after. Hearst tries to kill the movie, but Welles is able to overcome this while preserving the integrity of his art. While some of the details of this dramatization are apocryphal, the movie as a whole is still interesting and entertaining.
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2012
A surprising story behind Citizen Kane.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

February 12, 2012
Having watched this directly after first experiencing Citizen Kane, I found RKO to be insightful, informative, and rewarding. Liev Schreiber was great as Orson Wells, as was John Malkovich. The film had its limitations, it was only focused on the creation of, and aftermath of, Citizen Kane; I wish it had been more expansive in its look at Welles. The depiction of Hearst also felt inadequate, but it was passable considering the short running time. That said, what time the film did spend on both characters was effective. Overall a good film, and definitely a good companion piece to Citizen Kane.

3.5/5 Stars
mike hawke
December 4, 2011
love movies about the business, one of the best out there.
Arthuro
July 5, 2010
Étude très intéressante mais malheureusement un peu courte de la génèse de Citizen Kane. Très bon cast.
October 1, 2011
I came across this randomly one night and I couldn't stop watching. I never saw Citizen Kane at this point, so I saw that afterwards to.
December 31, 2010
A must see.
Everybody hurts.
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