Review Written by: Chris Burns
What the MPAA Rating should be: NC-17 (for violence, language, nudity and disturbing images)
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Stanley Kubrick
Based on the book by: Anthony Burgess
Produced by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Warren Clarke, Aubrey Morris
Studio: Warner Brothers Pictures
Controversy is a popular aspect in the world of art, people flock to see something that is seen to be offensive or shocking in one form or another. This goes for the infamous A Clockwork Orange
, famously known for being one of the most controversial films of all-time. I would say it lives up to its title, especially when you look at it from the perspective of a viewer in '71. A Clockwork Orange
still holds up today as being a frighteningly disturbing portrait of a ruthless mind. Though not quite as graphic as one might expect, the film holds no bars on its disturbingly genuine nature and shocking content, though all of this is a primary factor of the film's moral. A Clockwork Orange
is neither exploitive, nor degrading because all the content is in equilibrium with the importance and startling impact of the film.
Adapted from Anthony Burgess' novel, A Clockwork Orange
follows the futuristic story of the foul, repulsive and oddly intelligent sickening screwball Alex de Large (Malcolm McDowell) and his gang of "droogs". They prowl the nights with their disgusting habits of terror and take out their undesirable temperament on the unsuspecting public. Alex eventually gets arrested and put upon a scientific rehabilitation program which is supposed to make the degenerates of society "normal people" and eventually making it impossible for Alex to commit any kind of wrongdoing. The experiment does not quite go according to plan for the young hoodlum.
For a film of such fierce, challenging, depressing and wildly vivid nature there is still so much wonder and beauty to be found from it. The sheer magnitude of the film's unparallelled intelligence, entertainment value and ingenuity is something that will grasp even the most easily offended or unpredictable of viewers. Whether you like or dislike A Clockwork Orange
remains to be seen (yes, it is certainly a film that does not appeal to all tastes) because you will undoubtedly respect it for many reasons.
The audacious title, "A Clockwork Orange" is quite possibly the finest film title ever imagined, it helps you understand the film and primarily represents the "controlled mechanism for maintaining society". Ultimately, Alex becomes artificial on the outside, while still being perverted at heart. The number of morals and ethics discussed throughout the film is something that deserves the utmost appreciation of the literature essays the novel and film receives in schools around the world. Violence is an emblem of human nature, yet it is something that should be restrained and compressed through self-control. The film shows how even the most cruel and vile of human beings still have humane rudiments. The film goes into studying youth frustration, the rebellion in youth, individuality, philosophy, the breeding of control, society ranks, conformity, realising one's problems, being "somebody" rather than "something", freedom (being reborn/revitalised) and how violence breeds violence. The film gives such a wonderful message and also morals for its viewers, yet sadly it is one that has been cruelly misinterpreted by the more immature viewers. The film's final line sums up a lot about what I have mentioned above in the notoriously clear, resounding and extraordinary image.
Legendary director Stanley Kubrick gives a visionary adaptation from page to screen, giving the film a versatile and unique quality. The use of colourful and techno set-pieces creates the mad-world, which is so close to our own. There are so many tiny details the film holds, everything from the astonishingly unforgettable makeup to the masterful facial expressions from Malcolm McDowell all help to create a timeless experience in visceral film-making. The adaptable use of poetic slang makes you apart of the gang experience, putting you into the shoes of the one of the ultimate anti-heroes. It is poetry brimming with a glorious elegance and harsh boldness. The use of quirky dark comedy is hysterical and at the same time bewildering helping to make the viewing even more immersive. The editing it magnificently displayed through a graceful use of slow-motion and fast-forward scenes, the film's bare style is truly stunning. Malcolm McDowell's performance is one of the greatest character performances of all-time, Kubrick's casting decision is beyond perfect offering an actor the role of a lifetime.
Some people have accused this vivid spectacle of a social commentary of being self-absorbed or aching mass attention. I don't see A Clockwork Orange
as that, rather it's quite the opposite, it gives people a discussion point and a discussion point that questions one's own views. A Clockwork Orange
asks the viewer for their own opinion and their own conclusion for a story that is so surreal, yet, still being so sincere about the society we live in.
Alex commiting one of his acts of violence in A Clockwork Orange.