Citizen Kane Reviews
After a wealthy newspaper tycoon dies, journalists scramble to find out the meaning of his last word "Rosebud". Then we see the history of his life and everything he encountered throughout it.
The acting is magnificent. Especially coming from Orson Welles who in my opinion gave one of the best performances ever put on screen. But every other actor offers something great to the movie and not a single one of the main actors did a weak job acting. They all gave strong performances.
Wells direction is terrific and he is able to use basic elements to craft something truly brilliant with this picture. His work behind the camera is immaculate and it brings the viewer into a truly special experience.
This movie is engaging from the very first scene. Some people may not like the talk heavy dialogue but if you like slow paced movies (which I usually do) then it shouldn't bother you.
This movie has stood the test of time. It has aged well and it shows no sign of losing popularity. Is it one of my favorite movies of all time? No, but the reason it gets a 10/10 is because of its impact on cinema and how much it contributed to it. The only American film which comes close to topping this masterpiece is "The Godfather".
A reporter Jerry Thompson (goes around to various people that were close to Kane over the years and ask them if they are familiar with Rosebud. Each of people, his ex-wife, his business manager, and his best friend all recount the major pillar stones of Kane's life. They go into the detail and through the past and these interviews we learn how Kane developed to be who he was which included his vast wealth, his campaign for governor, and both of his marriages. The riddle remains unsolved until, Rosebud is revealed to be the name of the sleigh he rode on as a kid, and brings the movie full circle. All of the wealth, fame and desire to be loved stemmed from his mother sending him to boarding school at a very young age.
Citizen Kane was deemed AFI's top movie ever made twice in a 10-year span. This type of information is why I try and go into films without much knowledge of the plot, or the reviews. Going into watching a movie that is expected to be No. 1 leaves me in either two scenarios. I either go in jaded thinking it will not be that great, or I hope and expect it to be that great. In this case I went with the former, but this jaded approach to starting the film from the start is unfair. I thought Citizen Kane was quite a proactive film and for 1941 is it is well ahead of its time. Welles direction is masterful and his acting as Charles Foster Kane is great as well. The development of Kane thorough out the film was done in an interesting manner that was surely original. The film has some excellent shots, and camera movements that were ground breaking and make the film quite influential. The way the film makes it seem like Kane had a great and amazing life, then as you examine it through time, he is at the end a man who just wanted to be loved and mostly had a life full of sorrow and eventually died alone thinking of his childhood demonstrates the film's story can support the film's excellent direction and technique. Citizen Kane is by no means my favorite movie, but I respect it.
That's the great tragedy of Kane. His rosebud was taken from him too soon. He wasn't given enough time to adjust to the fact that he'd now have to be responsible. That he'd now have to earn love and give love. That love can't be bought with material things. Kane's no kid anymore and he has trouble adjusting to the fact that he's not. Kane never really learns his lesson. He just confusedly wonders why things can't be like they used to. So when Kane in his depression and frustration picks up his snow globe he's given a nostalgic jolt to the past. And he longs for his innocence. His rosebud.
Kane had an idea of this when he says "If I hadn't been rich I might've been a great man" He knew he had the charisma, the aura, and the talent that goes into the making of a great man. Had he been made to build his own wealth and learn other lessons on the way he might've been more than just a politician, a newspaper tycoon who lost the love and respect of all around him.
The movie's technical aspects are also quite the achievement. The existential lighting, the sweeping camera maneuvers, the inventive visuals and techniques and combinations of techniques are awe-inspiring especially for the day. Nowadays those maneuvers and shots wouldn't be so special but back then it was something you had to be particularly creative with. The lighting gives off many symbolic tones of imagery and the in depth shots paint portraits of character relationships. For example the mansion xanadu, the shot where the singer is doing her puzzle and Kane is off in the distance to symbolically portray how far away they are from each other emotionally.
This film was made by Orson Welles with the utmost ingenuity. He convinced the studio he was filming tests when they were actually filming the movie. He stretched every dollar, filmed every possible thing he could that his mind contained. He gave himself no restrictions. His performance is pitch perfect. After all, Kane was a performer himself. Putting on his best face, but rarely revealing himself.
The film is the landmark masterpiece you've been told it is. And well worth your time.
Not a single frame of film is wasted. The story, acting, and score are all superb, but it's Welles' camerawork that truly gilds this lily. Every shot is composed to its highest degree of artistic value using angles, lighting, framing, and depths of field that were never-before-seen (and still to this day rarely equaled).
While surveying the RKO back lot in Hollywood at the time, Orson Welles stated, "This is the biggest electric train set a boy ever had." Fortunately for everyone else, Welles just so happened to be the finest conductor in town.