Monday, 30 November 2015

November Blindspot: Citizen Kane

November Blindspot
Citizen Kane, 1941
Directed by Orson Welles 

Citizen Kane is very often and almost universally cited as the greatest film ever made. So obviously, this was top of my list to finally get around to watching. Because shouldn't every film fan see "the greatest film ever made"? However, I do not pretend to have really any knowledge of the history of the film or the stories surrounding it. I have heard smattering of how influential it is, but really have no idea. So I won't be saying anything particularly insightful in this arena, but just really want to share what I thought of this film. 

Citizen Kane tells the life story of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper magnate. The film begins with his death, and we get the story of his life after a group of reporters, who are putting together the life story of Kane, want to figure out what Kane's last words meant. The film examines Kane's early life, his start in media, and his various marriages and wealth. 

Citizen Kane is a movie that doesn't feel all that old to me. I mean, I know it's old because of the time period, but the way the story is told, and even how it looks, it doesn't feel like I'm watching a movie that was made 74 years ago. Sure, it may be a little slower than some of the popular film of the days, but the way the story is told is one I've seen so many times before. And I believe all of that is in thanks to Citizen Kane. Being 74 years old, I can easily see why this film is regarded as so influential. While I haven't seen tons of movies from the 30's/40's, I still know that the way the story and life of Kane in unfolded is particularly revolutionary. The film starts with Kane's death and then we rewind back to the beginning via flashbacks.  Indeed, upon very minimal research of this films influence, this was definitely one of the numerous things that made Citizen Kane so influential and timeless.

Orson Welles not only directed this, but also starred as the titular character. His work as Kane got him an Oscar nomination for Best Lead Actor, which I feel is very deserved. Welles not only did some great work as a director here, but also gave a great performance as Kane. Welles was able to portray the complexity he gave to Kane, and played him in various ranges without feeling too much like a caricature. As well, Welles gave fantastic direction in this film. It's a film that you can tell the director is passionate about and is a story he finds worth telling.  

Besides being the "greatest film ever made", I actually did quite enjoy Citizen Kane as just a movie. It was a fascinating portrait of what makes a man. The narrative was done in an interesting style, and the big question of what "rosebud" means was also really great (and the meaning itself was indeed quite interesting). There was enough mystery and drama in Kane's personal and professional life that it was constantly interesting. While I don't know if I can say it's the "Greatest film ever made", I can definitely recognize who influential this film would've been when it was made, and why so many have copied it since then. 

Citizen Kane is a film with such a massive reputation. I'd love to learn more about it and how it influenced all of film after it, and how it didn't manage to win Best Picture back in it's day. A very, very good film with a huge presence, Citizen Kane is definitely not a film to miss for any film fan!


  1. This was on my Blind Spot list in 2014 and I had really hyped it up for myself and felt disappointed. There's no way I would call that the best film of all time. Still, I think it had some good parts and Welles was really good. I'm glad you liked it!

    1. Thanks Brittani! Yeah, it's such a hyped up movie for sure, so expectations of this one was weird. But I always take things with a grain of salt and keep expectations low. It's always hard to review things like this :P

  2. Glad you enjoyed this. Even happier you understand why it's so influential. It did lots of things that simply weren't done before and have been copied ever since. Great review.