Citizen Kane (1941)

Orson Welles directs himself, Joseph Cotten and Dorothy Comingore in this fictional biopic of a newspaper tycoon whose hubris and wealth destroys his life and ideals.

I doubt I’ll find anything particularly new to say about the most overly assessed, praised and dissected film ever made. Rotting ever so slightly on its pedestal as the official, indisputable “greatest movie” does it no favours. It is a fine feature, ahead of its time, compulsively vibrant. It throws every experimental and flashy filmmaking technique against the wall and a lot of that sticks. I’m not entirely sure there is always purpose behind the revolutionary use of deep focus, sound design and jump cuts no matter how dazzling they are when combined together so insistently. Likewise the sheer cornucopia of motifs and clues and parallels can be heavy handed in their slutty desire to be unpicked and unpacked. Jigsaw pieces. Rosebud. Principles. The movie has grown on me. It does get better with every rewatch. It almost deserves to be forgotten then rediscovered. Unearthed and viewed through unprepared eyes. There are superb moments that nobody comments on. Seeded through the more iconic stuff. The faceless investigator’s casual jokey dismissal of other’s lives caught up in the behemoth’s wake. The eerie background disembodied scream as Kane’s second marriage falls apart. Welles trashing a room in a fantastic, unwavering single take. Citizen Kane is packed with juicy morsels. I just personally feel it is more impressive to make a narrative film that is at peace with being itself for the entirety of it runtime rather than a supermarket sweep of qualities and tricks.

9

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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