Citizen Kane (U)

Reviewed,Robert Hanks
Friday 30 October 2009 01:00 GMT

It would be nice to be able to buck the critical orthodoxy and say how tired and overrated Citizen Kane is; but the dulll truth is, it's still, indisputably, one of the great masterpieces of cinema – looking even better in this cleaned-up digital print, which shows off the wonderful clarity and detail of Gregg Toland's "deep focus" camerawork, bolstering the complexities of the story with new layers of feeling.

The thing that struck me on this encounter was how much the film rests on Dorothy Comingore as the press tycoon's second wife, the one he forces to be an opera singer. She has all the moral weight, as the only person who sees the selfishness, and the lack of a true self, that underlies his grandstanding; really, she's the film's central character – that is, if you grant that Kane doesn't have a character at all. Essential.

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