The medium-defining shibboleth that induces paroxysms of adulation from film critics (but not filmgoers), Citizen Kane has become, in its inviolable immensity, the cinematic equivalent of its own overbearing protagonist, Charles Foster Kane. Yes, the 25-year-old Orson Welles' direction is astounding. Yes, Welles and Herman Mankiewicz's screenplay is a pointed satire of paper baron William Randolph Hearst. Yes, Gregg Toland's deep-focus cinematography is sumptuous. Yes, Bernard Herrmann's score is eerily ominous.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 3

Product:

Citizen Kane Special Edition

The medium-defining shibboleth that induces paroxysms of adulation from film critics (but not filmgoers), Citizen Kane has become, in its inviolable immensity, the cinematic equivalent of its own overbearing protagonist, Charles Foster Kane. Yes, the 25-year-old Orson Welles’ direction is astounding. Yes, Welles and Herman Mankiewicz’s screenplay is a pointed satire of paper baron William Randolph Hearst. Yes, Gregg Toland’s deep-focus cinematography is sumptuous. Yes, Bernard Herrmann’s score is eerily ominous. And yes, the crane shots, the witty dissolves and the twist ending are all appropriately impressive for 1941. But looking beyond the technical bravura and the rhapsodic praise, and viewing the film in a guilt-free contemporary context, Kane quickly reveals just how cold and hollow a project it really is. Yes, it’s a self-referential conundrum about the crushing emptiness of one man’s life, but does that justify an empty movie, too?