A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Time: 136 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Stanley Kubrick
  • Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates


Protagonist Alex is an “ultraviolent” youth in futuristic Britain. As with all luck, his eventually runs out and he’s arrested and convicted of murder and rape. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental program in which convicts are programed to detest violence. If he goes through the program his sentence will be reduced and he will be back on the streets sooner than expected. But Alex’s ordeals are far from over once he hits the mean streets of Britain that he had a hand in creating.


  • “A Clockwork Orange” is one of those films you have to watch multiple times to fall in love with it. I guess this must be the most bizarre film I’ve ever seen, but Stanley Kubrick made all the right choices. There are so many elements of this film that bring it together and make you totally enjoy the story. The music in the film is one such example, at times it’s beautiful and at times dark and disturbing, setting the right tone for the scene. Interestingly enough, the film works so well because the shocking material is complemented with scores of dark humor. Also, the acting in this film is excellent, I couldn’t believe Malcolm McDowall didn’t receive an Oscar Nomination for his performance. I recommend you to watch this movie, but you really have to look past the things you might find disturbing, and just concentrate on the story.

  • (Rating: 4,5→ / 5) “A Clockwork Orange” is a triumph of Stanley Kubrick. It could be one of his best films with ” Lolita ” and “Dr Strangelove”. Not even “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “The Shining” and “Full Metal Jacket” (three overvalued films) can grasp the cultural and aesthetic success of the next movie. What does not make it completely perfect, but certainly a favorite of the public

    “A Clockwork Orange” is part of a series of books Anthony Burgess wrote to pay for the operation of his wife. Despite the setbacks, the work of Burgess was complex enough, being a kind of diatribe against the behavioral psychology (very popular at the time), against the failure or corruption of governments, and the Christian need for acceptance neighbor. In the United States the last chapter where the protagonist is redeemed was suppressed, simply because it was considered a weak ending: they finished victorious WWII, they were in Vietnam, they prosecuted the Nazis, Why accept the book with the protagonist redeemed? It was weak to the Americans, in the words of Burgess himself. With the passage of time, the book had its popularity and was in a kind of Development Hell, with various artists including Andy Warhol making his film “Vinyl”, or the band The Rolling Stones trying to have copyright to narrow their own vision on the big screen. It seems a curious thing about The Rolling Stones, but this band and their music was characterized by their misogynistic tastes, concepts that have married perfectly with the Clockwork Orange

    But Kubrick was finally made with the book. And while Kubrick filmed in England, filmed under the guidelines of the American book, ie, with the final edited

    Why “A Clockwork Orange” is so good? The following is a pedantic explanation, but we will try. Usually one can not combine concepts, traditions or cultures that are opposite each other. Most times it is false and ridiculous, sometimes directors have parodied to prevent the shock is so loud, and sometimes Z class directors have generally flooded their concepts in an appropriate context. When you see “Desperate Living” by John Waters,you’ll find pornography, scatology, perverted homosexuality, gore and histrionics. It is utterly impossible that something like this can be bearable if the movie was serious or anchored in the upper class; and that is why the film is in a “Trash” context with dirty individuals living in tin houses with colorful clothes and decadent

    In “A Clockwork Orange”, there are two opposite poles: on one side the upper class with the immaculate white traditional dresses and classical music; while on the other hand is the extreme violence and rude sex. If this had been filmed by a different director, it is likely that it would become a failed experiment of the Nouvelle Vague. But here Kubrick chooses not to be taken seriously to avoid these poles collide and be ridiculous. However, the phrase ” not taken seriously ” does not mean what Kubrick has directed a comedy, but made ​​a careful work to shade the film. First, the upper class has accepted sex as a cultural event: both bars and the homes are crammed with sexual sculptures, and “normal” individuals living with much more sex than it seems. Second, the Alex OFF narrative is recharged of intentions. Usually a director connects the viewer with the protagonist so these characters resulting lovable and human, ie most of the protagonists villains usually have their own codes of conduct and their own philosophy, have their plausible reasons for their villainy and are dominated by tragedy. But in “A Clockwork Orange” this does not happen, as Alex in his OFF speeches is very rational about facts but totally recharged of amorality in his actions, is an obviously biased speech and impossible to take his evil as something really serious or convincing, but as an act of artifice. At no time will the public feel that Alex is portrayed as an antihero glorified in his hyper-violence (although some will want to imitate his false eyelash)

    Actually, “A Clockwork Orange” is that, two different poles. Classical music and the slow motion for moments of ultraviolence, traditional dresses for a gang of evil, pure white milk with drugs. There are overtones of “reality” filtered, such as low and crumbling neighborhoods where Alex lives or slang language (here “Nadsat”) of teenage gangs, but this realism is only part of the orderly disorder of the film. The director satirizes English society, makes the world (youth, government, etc.) too abnormal (even aesthetically) and distant; although some of these concepts are originally from the book. However, according to Burgess, youth violence is an artistic manifestation of the guys (hence Alex also hear classical music) they could not control, while Kubrick conceived violence as something really twisted and structural of the society (note the choreographed, planned violence)

    What is debatable in this movie is the short dramatic exposure box. We should note that this is the story of a boy who suffers consequences from an experiment, but precisely the part of suffering is slightly suggested. When Alex is released with the experiment in progress, not suffer too to think he need to be back before. True, it suffers the blows of a vindictive beggar. True, it suffers the blows of corrupt police. It is true, he can not re- listen to his favorite music. But it is not so much suffering after all. This does not mean that the original book had more punishment, but at least the literary substance makes see the protagonist as if he is actually paying consequences from the experiment. In this film, suffering and reflection is slightly suggested, in fact the priest (who would be the voice of the moral) only has a couple of words while in the book had more space

    But if you forget this, “A Clockwork Orange” is one of the best efforts of the director. It’s all too artificial, but here this is in favor. There is nothing natural, not even a glass of milk

  • Highly controversial. Notorious. Banned. These are some of the words that one would associate with the screen version of Anthony Burgess’ brilliant dystopian novel, adapted and directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick.

    Nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture and Director, A Clockwork Orange is most certainly a landmark in the history of cinema. After forty years, it has not lost its impact and doesn’t look its age. It is a great film, but in my opinion, it is not Kubrick’s greatest as some critics would purport it to be.

    Starring Malcolm McDowell as lead character Alex, A Clockwork Orange is a sharp and satirical commentary on politics and society, imbued with Kubrick’s trademark dark humor and cold vision of a future world where anarchy prevails in factions and the threat of totalitarianism strong.

    Alex and his gang of thuggish delinquents seek gratification in ultra-violence and rape, preying on drunken old men and vulnerable women, until one day they set Alex up. This is where Kubrick’s film gets more nightmarishly interesting as we see Alex taken advantage of by the state in a new psychological experiment termed the Ludovico technique as a cure for criminal behavior.

    Kubrick starts his film with a series of hard-hitting scenes depicting violence and rape, accompanied by classical music and most unforgettably, Alex’s rendition of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

    The film’s visuals are stunning, with strategic lighting points to emphasize the detachment of warmth from the shots, especially in the interior scenes of the residences of the old man and his wife, and the woman in green tights. The use of tracking shots, slow-motion, and fast-forward editing may look gimmicky and excessive but in the whole context of the film’s visual style, they fit in a playful way.

    Credit to Kubrick’s screenplay, which manages to give Alex a transformative character arc that is not only fascinating but depressing to witness as well. We sympathize with Alex despite his evil doings because after all, what is more evil than a government “torturing” its citizen to gain a political advantage? Besides being satirical and bold, A Clockwork Orange is also a strong allegory to the depravity and madness of the Vietnam War at that time, a subject Kubrick would further explore in Full Metal Jacket (1987).

    The necessity of evil in the nature of Man and his capacity for violence are explored literally through the eyes of Alex as he juxtaposes his actions with that of “others”. Why do people turn violent? Is it because of societal ills? Of an individual’s lust for sadism? Or of something else inherent in us that is motivated by an unexplainable cause?

    Moreover, violence may not necessarily point to the brute physicality of the act, but could be construed as psychological torture as well, which is both a trigger to violence and also its consequence.

    My observation here is that Kubrick might have intended A Clockwork Orange to be less cinematic (ironically, this is despite his extravagant use of techniques to “cinematize” his film) by being more critically reflective of the power of cinema to reveal, though not always directly, the tension between the psychology of a person and his or her relation to the environment. Not surprisingly, Kubrick uses Alex as a tool to critique the government’s use of psychological torture as a solution to violence when the former is violence itself.

    Herein lies the greatness of A Clockwork Orange. It is not cinema in the classical (or even contemporary) sense, but a screen equivalent of a provocative stab at the human condition. When we deny a human being a choice to be evil, are we also denying him his humanity?

    The film’s ambivalent ending leaves us with more doubts to grapple with. Though not as groundbreaking as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or as satirically potent as Dr. Strangelove (1964), A Clockwork Orange remains to be a Kubrick masterpiece. It frustrates, angers, provokes, and ultimately floors you in ways unlike that of other great films.

    GRADE: A+

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