By Don Morton
December 8, 2020
Most “All-time best 10” movie lists will include 1941’s Citizen Kane, the Shakespearean tale of the rise and fall of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (a thinly disguised William Randolph Hearst). Writer/director/star Orson Welles created a classic debut feature that remains superb today, and deserves the credit he has been given. (Note: be a good idea to re-watch this film first on Amazon.)
But the movie probably wouldn’t have been quite the industry-changing, creative explosion it turned out to be if not for the vision, persuasiveness and perhaps madness of Welles’s co-screenwriter, noted social critic and self-destructive boozehound Herman Mankiewicz.
Gary Oldman pulls out all the stops with a funny and fierce title performance that may garner him a second Oscar (after 2017’s Darkest Hour). Great support by Amanda Seyfried and Lily Collins.
Director David Fincher brings to bear his trademark craftsmanship and includes a few Wellesian flourishes in this movie about a movie (like filming in black-and-white). It’s a dense, detailed and cerebral peek into the machinations of 1930s Hollywood that will appeal to (1) cinephiles and (2) everyone else. Now streaming on Netflix. (131 min)
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