A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Alex leads a pack of degenerate young hooligans through the streets of England on an ultra-violent rampage of rape and murder. After being betrayed by his friends, Alex is caught by the police and incarcerated in a state prison, where he volunteers for an experimental new treatment in order to earn himself an early release. Here at the Ludovico Institute, he is subjected to hours of brainwashing images and conditioning that force a negative association with violence in his mind that is accompanied by a wrenching pain in his gut. Now free, he is a truly a changed man, but he re-enters a bitter society that is still riddled with violence, where he is beaten to the brink of death by those he had harmed in the past.

Master craftsman Stanley Kubrick brings his own unique vision to the classic Anthony Burgess novel about free will and governmental control. This dystopian tale uses Alex and his droogs as extreme examples of youth in revolt, living without rule in an ambivalent society where teachers and family have all but given up on enforcing the law. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE paints the governing authorities in a mocking and contemptuous light, demonstrating their inadequacies through their dogmatic practices, failed social experiment, and loose hiring techniques.

While the great Malcolm McDowell would go on to star in many other excellent films, it would be his role as Alex that would prove to be his most memorable and lasting performance. He plays beside an equally talented cast that each manage to extract the biting cynicism of the script and bring it to life on-screen. Kubrick's extraordinary use of color and expert filming techniques immediately juxtapose the graphic subject matter and violence, a trend that is heightened even further by the Classical music score that is intrinsically linked to Alex's character progression. The culmination of these various elements can be seen early on, when Alex and his gang terrorize an older couple in their home to the gleeful tune of "Singin' in the Rain."

Nominated for no less than four Oscars® (including Best Script and Best Director) and winner of countless other awards, Stanley Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is in a class all unto itself. It is a defining piece of cinematic history, and an important watch for any film fan.

Rating: 10/10.

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  1. i liked the book a lot too.

    awesome social comments.
    realistic in its statements on the human condition.
    truly a masterpiece and essential viewing for all serious free thinkers.

    nothing short of sheer stupenda in story and story telling.

    i agree on your 10/10 Carl.

    any other score would be a crime.

  2. This freaked me out as a kid, there was something super-taboo about it. Still feel skeevy about it, a bit.

  3. What's really criminal is that this is only the second time I have seen the film, I forgot just how powerful it is and how brilliant Kubrick's filming was. I still really need to pick up the novel, have yet to read it.

    Wings it is just as uncomfortable and alarming now as it likely was back then, it has not lost an ounce of its effectiveness, and despite a few clear indicators of the time, it has an ageless quality about it.

  4. On an episode of Six Feet Under, Claire has been told by Russell that A Clockwork Orange is "mandatory viewing for all humans." I think that puts it perfectly!

  5. Never really got into Clockwork Orange, I find the movies message to be too bleak.
    Kubrick's world leaves us no alternative other than either to be an agressor or become a victim.

    I tend to prefer more hopeful movies.

  6. I would write a longer comment Carl, but I'm off out to my local 'Korova Milk Bar' and an evening of 'ultraviolence' followed by a bit of the 'in out in out'. - Great Review!

  7. Old Folkie I can appreciate the view, my only contention would be that the parents and teachers and other characters that should be impressing the law on Alex and the other miscreants living in England at the time were entirely passive, neither aggressors nor victims necessarily, just apathetic automatons (or as Burgess would put it, clockwork oranges) that have created these hooligans by condoning their behavior. I think it speaks out against apathy more than anything else, which is a powerful theme that underrides the film and (I presume) the novel.

  8. --And Shaun, I'll be right there with you, little brother!

  9. nice review! i just re watched this a couple weeks ago and i think i enjoy it more and read more into it every time i've watched it. i bought the book and while i want to read it i always put on the side. i guess because usually the old adage "the book is always better than the movie" is always ringing in my ear. in this case though i bet the movie will give the book a run for it's money.

    we'll see. someday.

  10. Perfect review of one of my favorite movies of all time. Wow,I really could not have said it better!