Citizen Kane: No One Really Knew Him
Citizen Kane is a film open to many interpretations and analyses. It tells the story of its main character through the complex points of view of those who knew him. Or thought they knew him. The character of Charles Foster Kane is played by, and done so in an enigmatic performance, by Orson Welles. The intrinsic bias and prejudice of the “narrators” in this film creates conflicting accounts of who Charles Foster Kane really was. Kane was a private man; closely guarding his true identity, making it difficult to differentiate the private Kane from his public identity. Throughout the film’s development of Kane, several inconsistencies and contradictions arise in the depiction of the character’s personality. All of these issues make it difficult to form a solid portrayal of whom Kane actually was. However, there is enough evidence to conclude that Charles Foster Kane was a noble figure sabotaged by his own anti-social behavior and his search for love, his inability to find and provide it, and the way this haunted him to his dying day.
To further examine Charles Foster Kane the way in which the film deals with “point of view must” be examined. Excluding the opening shot of the film, in which Kane dies, the events of Kane’s life are told through a series of narrators. The audience is informed that the character of Thompson is charged with the task of discovering who Kane really was by decoding the meaning of his last word, “ROSEBUD”. This plants an expectation in the audience that they too will be uncovering the “real” Kane through Thompson’s interviews. However, Thompson’s supposed first contact, the former Mrs. Kane (Susan Alexander Kane), is a complete failure. This sets up a succession of broken expectations that distort and interrupt the interpretation of Kane.
Thompson’s mission leads him from one subjective acquaintance to another, ranging from a book (the autobiography of the money minded Mr. Thatcher) to Kane’s longtime business