Throughout the movie Citizen Kane the view that nothing really matters and that there is no meaning, or nihilism, is often prevalent. It is said numerous times in the film that Charles Kane lost everything that he ever got. He spent the majority of his life running an unprofitable and failing newspaper, he lost 2 wives and although he had multiple riches through out his life, none of it meant anything in the end. .
The continued investigation of his last word, "rosebud" through out the film can also be used to show views of nihilism. At the start of the film the reporter Thompson is given the mission to find out what the last words of Charles Kane truly meant, so that they may find some insight into the meaning of his life. Thompson spends a great deal of time and effort investigating those mysterious last words, but in the end he doesn"t find them to mean anything. In a sense the lack of meaning to the word rosebud represents a lack of meaning to Kane's entire life. .
Shadows and silhouettes were often used in Citizen Kane to express or convey characterization, mood and narration. While this method was used through out the entirety of the film, one instance immediately comes to mind. In a conversation with his second wife Susan, about whether or not she will continue in her attempt to become an opera singer, Kane insists that she continue. As the conversation, or argument progresses, Kane moves closer and closer to Susan until he towers above her, leaving her entirely covered in shadow. Her being covered in shadow at this time clearly represents how Kane ran her life. Kane was definitely presented as an imposing figure through out the film, and this particular use of shadow helps to present that. Another instance where shadows are used to convey mood and possibly narration occurs when Charles Kane first completes his declaration of principles for the Inquirer. As he begins to read the declaration he moves in to shadow and speaks in a very slow sincere tone.