Monday, September 14, 2009

Citizen Kane (Review)

     This review had to come next. "Citizen Kane." Widely regarded by film buffs, film students, film critics, and basically anyone who went to film school, as the greatest movie ever; it's not. For the greatest movie ever, see "Casablanca."

     "Citizen Kane" is, perhaps, the most over rated movie ever. Let me explain. "Citizen Kane" is a very important and historic movie. Orson Welles was deliberately trying to create something new in movie making, and he did. He pioneered new techniques in cinematography, special effects, make up, ect... Orson Welles was a great director who did something great for American film, and, at the time, something entirely new and different. It also tanked at the box office. Why? Well, it's long and boring and rather tedious. The entire story is laid out for you in the first five minutes, then relived in flashbacks. Of course, all the surprises are gone because you heard it already in the first five minutes of the film. I also really don't want to seem callous, but I really fail to feel any pity or remorse, or anything really, for the center of this story, Charles Foster Kane, played by Orson Welles himself. As a child, care of young Charles Kane is signed over, along with a fortune, to a financial advisor, to keep the boy away from his abusive (?) father. From there he grows up rich and loveless, trying desperately to find some kind of satisfaction in life, but ultimately failing to and wishing, on his deathbed, for the simplicity of childhood. I'm sorry, but the poor little rich kid doesn't really elicit my sympathy. I feel for the child removed from his parents, but that only buys so much emotion and we see Kane mainly as an adult, where all sympathy for the character dies and we are forced to endure the slow, agonizing telling of the story of his, oh so sad, incredibly successful life. I suppose we are supposed to be carried along by the quest to discover what his last word, "Rosebud", meant. The mystery doesn't really support that much story and turns out to be oh so unfulfilling.

     Unless you are very interested in the technical aspects of early film making or just want to be able to intelligently speak about the subject when your film friends talk about it, I do not recommend watching "Citizen Kane."

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