Citizen Kane Review

This movie was Directed, partly written, produced by and starred first-timer Orson Welles. Very few times does someone created something phenomenal on their first try by Welles succeeded.

The plot revolves around the death of Charles Foster Kane, a famous newspaper tycoon based off of the late, William Randolph Hearst (So obviously so that Hearst actually banned the movie from being mentioned in any of his newspapers or magazines upon the release of the film). When Kane dies his final words are “Rosebud� and this leads some reporters to believe that this has some larger meaning that could describe who he was, even further than what was already known. The story of his life is told in flashbacks, from being taken away from his mother and abusive father, to his political career, to the endings of both of his marriages. The reporters ask his guardian, second wife and the employees in his mansion Xanadu. Yet they never find the meaning of his final words. After the final words spoken by one of the searchers “I don't think any word can explain a man's life,'' it is revealed that Rosebud is the sled he rode on the day he was taken away from his parents and sent to boarding school.

All of the shots in the movie are shot so they are artistically pleasing. Every shot looks like a photograph taken by a professional. The movie is filled to the brim with symbolism as well. Rosebud represents the joy of childhood that many adults try to reclaim throughout their life, in Kane's case, the time spent with his mother. After losing the election for governor all camera angles are shot at a low perspective to show that even though he lost, he was still a very big man. As the distraught Kane is walking through a hall with mirrors on both sides, neglecting to see himself as who he is, not what he thinks he is.

I believe Roger Ebert explained it best: “ ‘Citizen Kane’ knows the sled is not the answer. It explains what Rosebud is, but not what Rosebud means. The film's construction shows how our lives, after we are gone, survive only in the memories of others, and those memories butt up against the walls we erect and the roles we play. There is the Kane who made shadow figures with his fingers, and the Kane who hated the traction trust; the Kane who chose his mistress over his marriage and political career, the Kane who entertained millions, the Kane who died alone.

There is a master image in ``Citizen Kane'' you might easily miss. The tycoon has overextended himself and is losing control of his empire. After he signs the papers of his surrender, he turns and walks into the back of the shot. Deep focus allows Welles to play a trick of perspective. Behind Kane on the wall is a window that seems to be of average size. But as he walks toward it, we see it is further away and much higher than we thought. Eventually he stands beneath its lower sill, shrunken and diminished. Then as he walks toward us, his stature grows again. A man always seems the same size to himself, because he does not stand where we stand to look at him.�


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