A Clockwork Orange (1971)

5 STARS

General Information:

The information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066921/ 

 18     136 min  –  Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi   –  13 January 1972 (UK)

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writor:

Stanley Kubrick

Stars:

Malcolm McDowell; Patrick Magee; Warren Clarke

Plot:

Alex and his droogs go around beating, raping, robbing and generally having ‘fun’ at the unfortunate expense of their victims. Yet when young Alex is caught by the police and is entered into a new brainwashing experiment designed as a quick-fix to decrease crime rates and overcrowded prisons, Alex loses more than he bargained for.

Review:

The first time we see the anti-hero, Alex, in A Clockwork Orange is in the first scene – which is a close-up shot of him and his droogs in the Korova milkbar drinking milk (containing heroine). From this point onwards we can sense that Alex is evil, yet likeable, which is key to Alex’s character; he has a devilish grin as he ponders what ‘fun’ he’ll be getting up to in the evening. (He beats up a tramp and rapes a woman in front of her husband).

The film is a viewing experience like no other: it is funny, disturbing, brutal, hypnotic – and throughout you get the urge to look away, but you can’t. We are drawn in by Alex’s character, which is key to this film, as it helps us to sort of understand why he commits these crimes. There were points in this film where I laughed at Alex’s crimes due to the slapstick and stylisation involved, yet afterwards I felt guilty and disturbed by myself for laughing. This film challenges us morally as it sucks out our dark instincts, our inner caveman, our primal forces – which are of course: violence and sex. But in the case of Alex: ‘ultra-violence’ and rape.

The film is also mesmerising to look at, dreamlike tracking shots, surreal and colourful sets,  slow-motion shots, all of these techniques have been used carefully and precisely by Kubrick used to add more cinematic force to this mesmerizing film.

Without revealing too much of the plot, Alex is caught by the police and is then arrested for one of the brutal crimes he has committed in the film. From this point on, the film becomes more serious as the philosophical and satirical elements are seemlessly mixed in by Kubrick; and the ‘controversial’ aspects – of which the film is known for (violence and rape) –  dumb down a bit.

Once Alex is in prison he is selected to be part of a new technique aimed to reform criminals by forcing them to be good. Here various questions are posed: should criminals be forced to be good in order to reduce crime levels? Should criminals be forced to do good even though good comes from within? Is this right? Does Alex deserve this? Does he deserve his free-will stripped away from him? And the most important question of all: is this the future we are heading towards? A future where lawa and order have broken down so much that mob culture rules; and the government is forced to go to drastic measures to clean the country back up again.

A Clockwork Orange is shocking, honest, brutal, funny and as sharp and surreal as any Kubrick film; by far, his best work.

Verdict:

Violence and rape makes this shocking. Yet the second and third half of the film make it thought provoking. Funny at points and definitely disturbing at the beginning, the film will leave you with quite a lot to think about.

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