- Gwent College
- Review Date
- 11 September, 2014
Citizen Kane. A film that some call the greatest piece of cinema ever put to a projector and canvas and has a general consensus of being the film that pushed many new techniques in the industry that are still seen today. While I personally wouldn't go as far as the greatest film of all time, I can’t deny the stunning cinematography and atmosphere director Orson Welles creates. The film is centred around wealthy newspaper owner and politician Charles Kane (played by Orson Welles) and his dying words of “rosebud”. A reporter is tasked with finding out the meaning to the multi millionaires ominous last word and so visits his former work colleagues, friends and lovers to get the answer. Each character the reporter interviews tells the slow deprivation of Kane’s mind as he grows older and more troubled psychologically, culminating in a complete breakdown of his psyche. The ending of the film and the final meaning to the last word is very clever and rather thought provoking when cosidering the triviality of what all of the reporters work turns out to be for.
As I mentioned before the cinematography in this film is something to behold, every shot is framed perfectly and Welles’ use of mirrors and distorted lenses make every scene gorgeous to look at. The sets are also wonderful to see, particularly Kane’s mansion ‘Xanadu’ and its interiors. The characters that the reporter interviews, while each with an interesting story to tell, can become a little tiresome but it’s not enough to make you want to stop watching. Charles Kane is portrayed astoundingly by Orson Welles who perfectly captures both the arrogant, young, buisnessman Kane and the older, more troubled and decrepid Kane. You can really sense his bitterness and anger at the people around him but you can also sympathise with him. This is a man who was taken away as a child from his parents so that he could have a better life, however thinking it would be ‘fun’ to write a newspaper his hobby turns into a passion when he decides the paper must speak what other newspapers darent not to and gives it his full attention over relationships, friends and even sleeping and eating. In a way he’s kind of similar to a less horrible Scrooge if the three ghosts hadn’t visited him on Christmas eve and he was left for his bitterness and determination to succeed to slowly eat him away over time.
All in all the film is the character study of a man who simply allowed money and wealth to consume him and his motivations. In that sense it sounds rather cliché but just trust me when I tell you it really isn’t. It’s a fascinating piece of cinema that has certainly earned the right to stand the test of time that it has and is definetly deserving of the title of one of the best films of all time.