Movie review: Citizen Kane
'Citizen Kane' is still the greatest and most significant film ever made
By Sal LoCicero | December 3rd, 2020
It has been almost 80 years since Citizen Kane made an everlasting impact in Hollywood, there have been no films to ever come close to obtaining the achievement that this movie produced. Citizen Kane is the reason why movies are the way they have been for so many years. What the people behind this movie were able to accomplish is pure genius and it is something that still has not been replicated by any filmmaker to this day.
Citizen Kane tells the story of Charles Foster Kane, a man whose last dying words were “rosebud”, who made a living as a publishing tycoon. In this quasi-biographical film, we get a look into the life of Kane, from a young child to a senior. This is a phenomenally made film in every way. The main reason as to why Citizen Kane is regarded as the greatest film of all time is because this movie takes a look at the most prominent man and tells this story with such advanced originality.
What makes this feature what it is to this day, is the work behind the masterpiece. Citizen Kane is based off of a man named William Randolph Hearst, who was a Newspaper publisher back in the day, the writer behind the film Herman J. Mankiewicz used writings and dialogue that were originally used by Hearst himself. The movie is also significant in how it can be relatable to our society and us as Americans. Orson Welles was also a brilliant person. Before his work in Citizen Kane, Welles became well-known for his narration of H.G Wells's The War Of The Worlds, which debuted on October 30, 1938, four years before Welles co-wrote, and directed Citizen Kane. Even before “The Greatest Film Of All Time”, Orson Welles began to make a name for himself.
Another revolutionary aspect that Citizen Kane achieved was its unprecedented technical storytelling. Back in the Golden Age of cinema, the way filmmakers created projects were not exactly how the filmmakers behind Citizen Kane created theirs. Editor Robert Wise did a groundbreaking job, a job that wasn’t done during that time. The editing in this feature is something that you can absolutely tell inspired many more films after this to come. The quick transitions from Charles Foster Kane as a kid to a young adult is very prestigious, and it is also an aspect to this film that may have confused moviegoers who’ve experienced the movie for the first time due to their expectations when watching a Golden Age motion picture
The cinematography is breathtaking to look at, even with the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, that doesn’t stop the cinematographer (Gregg Toland) from performing his behind the camera work. Any scenes that take place in Xanadu (which is inspired by Hearst Castle) is incredible to see. Whenever a scene in the movie takes place in Xanadu it helps the film feel even more like the epic it is.
Herman J. Mankiewicz’s writing is ahead of its time, and what helps it more is Orson Welles’s directing. The way Welles directed was amazing and it even boosted Citizen Kane’s greatness. Now, it is understandable why there are some that consider Citizen Kane overrated and outdated (even I did on my first watch), over time there have been other movies that have followed in the same footsteps (in some ways) as Citizen Kane, and have done a much better job doing so. However, this is the movie that started the way films; like the ones after it, are made now, and this movie tells that story in its most truest form.
In the end, Citizen Kane can still keep its name as “The Greatest Movie Of All Time” because it will be quite some time until another movie comes around taking its place.
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