What’s the big deal with Citizen Kane?

August 11, 2011

You know how sometimes things get built up so big that they have no shot at meeting expectations? Well, that’s happened with me and Citizen Kane.

Never watched it. But for years I’ve heard friends, family and movie gurus talking about what an amazing movie it is. So, I finally got the DVD from Netflix and just watched it.


Yes, really. I mean, sure, I can see that there was a lot of innovative techniques used for a 1941 film. It’s definitely eye-catching at times. But the story???


Aside from the fact that I figured out what “Rosebud” was almost as soon as that became the movie’s primary mystery, I agree almost entirely with the negative criticisms that are found on the movie’s Wikipedia page:

Boston University film scholar Ray Carney, although noting its technical achievements, criticized what he saw as the film’s lack of emotional depth, shallow characterization and empty metaphors. Listing it among the most overrated works within the film community, he accused the film of being “an all-American triumph of style over substance.” The Swedish director Ingmar Bergman once stated his dislike for the movie, calling it “a total bore” and claiming that the “performances are worthless.” He went on to call Orson Welles an “infinitely overrated filmmaker.”

Similarly, James Agate wrote, “I thought the photography quite good, but nothing to write to Moscow about, the acting middling, and the whole thing a little dull…Mr. Welles’s high-brow direction is of that super-clever order which prevents you from seeing what that which is being directed is all about.”

I disagree with Bergman’s comment about Orson Welles, but everything else is spot on. Wayyyy overrated movie.


  • Reply Cari McGee August 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    He’s a hottie. Orson was, I mean. The movie is all about the eye candy…

  • Reply Todd Mintz August 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Gotta disagree with you on this one. Citizen Kane is a worthy masterpiece. On the other hand, Gone With The Wind is the yawner IMO.

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