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Citizen Kane review - Essay Example

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The movie stars and is directed by Orson Welles, who also co-wrote the original screenplay. Often still regarded by critics as one of the greatest films of all time, it garnered a large amount of Academy Award…
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Submitted: Citizen Kane: Movie Review “Citizen Kane” is a renowned American drama released in 1941. The moviestars and is directed by Orson Welles, who also co-wrote the original screenplay. Often still regarded by critics as one of the greatest films of all time, it garnered a large amount of Academy Award Nominations of which it won the “Best Writing” award (Mulvey 3). Set amidst the newspaper publishing world of the US at the time, the movie tells the life story of the character Charles Kane, a publishing tycoon based on a real life individual. The story begins with the protagonist as an old man on his death bed, alone in his expensive mansion without family or friends. As he utters his last word, “Rosebud”, a journalist sets out on a journey of investigation to discover the meaning of Kane’s last word. It is through this exploration, including interviews with family members and associates, that we are told the life story of Kane, from childhood as a member of a poverty stricken family, through to his move into the newspaper industry as he develops a position of huge and influential power within the medium as his personal life disintegrates.
One of the most innovative and important aspects of the movie is its narrative techniques, which I greatly admire. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, and not necessarily in chronological order. In addition to this, the story is entirely non-linear in that it is told through the perspective and points of view of multiple characters (Cook, 2004). Such characters include much older individuals who have different interpretations and opposing descriptions of the protagonist. This non-linear storytelling technique which incorporates multiple narrators, including unreliable narrators, was extremely innovative of the time. Though a few previous movies had attempted this to some degree, “Citizen Kane” exploited this technique and based the structure of the entire movie upon this strategy. This is an extremely effective device and very appropriate for this particular movie.
Another aspect of the movie which has garnered much well deserved acclaim is the cinematography. Welles apparently attempted to create a new style of making films, by trying to combine several such techniques into one cohesive method. This resulted in many new and innovative aspects to the movies cinematography. For example, the director employed several low-angle shots and used deep focus extensively (Cook 96). This was extremely modern and new for the time period, as the limitations and typical settings of movies restricted such techniques.
The movie overall, certainly deserves its substantial critical acclaim and merits. The innovative cinematography and storytelling structure were highly creative and effective devices to use at the time. Orson Welles as director, lead actor and co-writer also displays huge talent in each of these fields. Of the many themes in the play, the one that stands out the most is the impossibility of interpreting another’s life based solely upon the opinions of
others. The movie explores this very successfully and it resonates in the viewer long after the movie has ended. However, it must be said that modern audiences may not appreciate the strengths of the movie as they were so long ago. Compared to modern day filmmaking techniques and advances in the art, it may be difficult for new viewers to fully appreciate the genius and innovation involved in making this movie.
The movie “Citizen Kane” is a critically acclaimed, innovative film which was ground-breaking upon its’ release. It is an effective, emotional and intriguing story, filmed with creative techniques and unusual narratives. It explores a universal and relatable theme which many can understand and appreciate. Modern audiences may not be able to fully conceptualize the innovations used within the movie, but it still merits acclaim as the themes, acting and intriguing plot still remains current and affective even today.
Works Cited
Cook, D. (2004). Orson Welles and the Modern Sound Film: A History of Narrative Film. W.W: Norton Company, Inc.
Mulvey, L. (1992). Citizen Kane. London: British Film Institute. Read More
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