A lot of times, people will defend a movie by saying that it’s not Citizen Kane, but it’s entertaining. This is usually a roundabout way of saying that the detractor’s standards are too high and that he or she is simply nitpicking. The claim, however, makes no sense as Citizen Kane is a terrible movie.
I’m not being ironic or sarcastic, I’m dead freakin’ serious, Citizen Kane is one of the most over rated movies of all time. There is an element of hype backlash, hype can ruin a movie. Let the Right One In was hailed as a modern classic that ranked among the best vampire stories told, ever. I went in expecting mind blowing levels of awesome. It’s a good movie, quite good, but quite good doesn’t hold up when you’re expecting amazing beyond words.
It’s long, boring, the characters are bland and uninteresting, it’s pretentious, the story goes nowhere and the ending is sub-Shyamalan. How is this hailed as a classic exactly? I mean, There Will Be Blood is long and a bit slow at times, but the characters were well developed and there was a much stronger story. While some elements were unclear, it’s still a movie worth checking out at least once (though I’ve heard it’s a movie you need to watch a couple of times to catch things you may’ve missed on the first go around).
My mom pointed out that Welles used a lot of different camera tricks and that it’s revolutionary as far as cinematography goes. OK, I’ll grant you that, but here’s my argument. Sooner or later, someone would’ve come up with the tricks that Welles used and they would’ve done it in a movie that didn’t bore me to death.
Being able to expertly work a camera is nice, but if you’re going to hail something as the greatest movie of all time, you need to do better than that. Tron, for all of its faults, had a cohesive story and far more in the way of characterization. It was a film that was revolutionary and way ahead of its time, but still entertained and wowed the viewer. Even decades later, the film is still a visual spectacle.
Citizen Kane has nothing going for it. With the release of classics like The Princess Bride, Ghostbusters, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Shawshank Redemption, Welles’ so called masterpiece just doesn’t hold up. Even new movies like Wall-E or The Dark Knight blow Kane out of the water. Give me Grindhouse any day of the week.
The ending? I don’t know if I need to put a spoiler alert at this point. Suffice it to say that it’s a disappointment. The whole arc of the movie is trying to figure out just what Kane meant when he went out of his way to make the word, “Rosebud” his last word.
I think it might’ve been better if he never gave you the answer. At least then, viewers could speculate and form their own theories. It’s been fairly well established that when it comes to ambiguous things like this, it’s better left to the viewer as no matter how good the surprise reveal is, our imagination would be able to come up with something better.
Even Welles himself wasn’t happy with the film and this is supposed to be his masterpiece. Of course, he didn’t really like voicing Unicron in Transformers: The Movie either and I maintain that that was his greatest role.