Mr. Arkadin – The Great Villain Blogathon 2016

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The eponymous villain of our story.

Mr. Arkadin, the film, may be regarded as a minor work in Orson Welles’s oeuvre, but his characterization of Mr. Arkadin provides a vehicle¬†for some of his most subtle ruminations on the nature of evil. The film, released in various versions around the world starting in 1955 (and sometimes given the alias Confidential Report) is a convoluted potboiler, relatively unremarkable in the basic outline of the scenario, and steeped in the noir and crime fiction tradition. But through the distinctive editing, camera angles,¬†and stylistic flourishes in the costuming and makeup, Welles gives us more than a first glance might afford. We find an exploration of sin, duplicity, and the grotesque that makes us question what makes a person a villain, and perhaps implicitly looks for a spiritual source for redemption.

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