Well, here we are—the end of the year! Week 52 out of 52! To conclude this year’s film appreciation resolution, I thought it would be most fitting watch the ‘greatest film of all time’, “Citizen Kane”. My not-so-secret secret is I actually have seen this film before, 10 years ago in a film study class. However, I remembered very little of it, so I figured it still made sense to cap my list of “influential and culturally significant American films” with a viewing.
“Citizen Kane” is the biopic of the fictional Charles Foster Kane, a character based on several wealthy magnates (most significantly and famously being William Randolph Hearst). The film begins with a news reel announcing Kane’s death and then cuts to a reporter tasked to understand the significance behind Kane’s final utterance: “Rosebud.” The reporter makes his way to various individuals from Kane’s life, all who tell a more personal and detailed version of Kane’s dramatic rise and fall in financial, political, and romantic arenas.
I don’t have a hot take on this film. Everything that could be said about “Citizen Kane” has already been written. Hell, even the film’s Wikipedia page clocks in at over 18,000 words (11,000 more than year-opener film “Lawrence of Arabia”). Some folks herald the film for its influential narrative structure, cinematography, and film making techniques. Others have come to view it as boring, meandering, and view its contributions to the form as overstated, or worse, flat out stolen. Still, all of the baggage of legacy aside, I really enjoyed “Citizen Kane”. The film is a uniquely American story and remains as relevant as ever. Kane reminds me of Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, or even Trump himself, pulling back the curtain on what is so charming and dangerous about men like them.
Is “Citizen Kane” the best film of all time? I don’t know—is it really possible to pick any film for ‘best ever’? But I do believe that “Citizen Kane” is a perfectly told story about a search for meaning in one man’s life. It continues to challenge viewers to consider what is true, what is valuable, and what is important in life. It was a wonderful way to conclude the year.
Thank you for reading. ☺️