Citizen Kane is an all-time classic movie, largely considered one of the greatest movies ever created. Nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning one, it tops list after list. Citizen Kane is written, directed and starred by Orson Welles. Due to his work in radio, stage and movies, he’s regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time.
Big words for a movie released in 1941. While M was a hidden gem from nearly a decade earlier, we see a massively more technical, ambitious and better cast movie that lives up to the accolades heaped on it. While the middle tends to drag a bit in my opinion, I enjoyed the method of character exposition through the use of flashbacks. The principal characters largely just play a role of different narrators, peeking into different parts of Charles Kane’s life.
Citizen Kane & “Rosebud”
The movie opens with a rather enigmatic scene where our main/titular character dies, the word “rosebud” on his lips. This mystery is the driving force that spurs the reporters to begin a winding, revealing journey of key points in the Kane’s life.
This is the most spoiled secret in history. Yes, we all know it’s his sled. Yes, the whole movie you are left wondering what his quote meant. Even if you do spoil this secret for yourself, you’ll still be wondering what the meaning behind it is. This is great storytelling.
Charles Kane has an interesting life. He seems concerned about the life and well-being of those less privileged than him. However, his actions seem more about getting people to love him through power structures and other machinations. While his aims may be altruistic, they’re ultimately narcissistic. His poor beginnings seem to help frame that up, and gives you a short, telling, insight into his behaviors and actions.
I found the whole story well done, the characters well acted and the set pieces well formulated and constructed. Overall, the whole ending is conclusive enough, but clever enough to make you think about what is going on and their deeper meanings.