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A Clockwork Orange

Posted : 4 years, 9 months ago on 18 March 2014 04:02

Stanley Kubrick’s explicit and darkly ironic examination of delinquency and its socio-cultural consequences, A Clockwork Orange, dissects the nature of violence within a familiar, near-future metropolis, albeit with satirical verve.

It is a dazzling work of raddled genius, an urban excerpt in which the dystopian nightmare is disturbingly submersible; as a viewer, you are completely immersed within its stark backdrop, its offbeat characters and their idiosyncrasies, impelled to watch even if what you are watching is not particularly pleasant. Classical music-loving proto-punk Alex and his "Droogs" spend their nights getting high on spiked milk before embarking on "a little of the old ultraviolence," such as terrorizing a writer, Mr. Alexander, and gang raping his wife (who later dies as a result). After Alex is jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady to death with one of her phallic sculptures, he submits to the Ludovico behavior modification technique to earn his freedom; he's conditioned to abhor violence through watching gory movies, and even his adored Beethoven is turned against him. Returned to the world defenseless, Alex becomes the victim of his prior victims, with Mr. Alexander using Beethoven's Ninth to inflict the greatest pain of all. When society sees what the state has done to Alex, however, the politically expedient move is made.
Alex is the narrator and protagonist of the film, but he is also the villain, which somewhat refreshes the logic of narrative cinema, and as the story unfolds, you as a viewer are won over by his manipulative narration and subconsciously complicit in his acts of crime, terror and sadism. Uncomfortable as it is being placed in the perspective of a sociopathic deliquent, his acts of amusement are visually depicted as violence, but from an amoral point of view, and therefore it is not gratuitous or mindless, it is artistic realism. Both the main sexual violence set pieces are almost hypnotic in their stylistic glory, taking place in lavish country homes with pseudo-sexual décor – perhaps to contrast Alex’s own dilapidated council estate flat – filmed with subversive, balletic ritualism and lit like a fashion shoot.
Kubrick's detached view of the state's economy of violence: how criminal abhorrence is countered with clinical, scientific subjection. Alex's violence is horrific, yet it is an aesthetically calculated fact of his existence; his charisma makes the icily clinical Ludovico treatment seem more negatively abusive than positively therapeutic. Alex may be a sadist, but the state's autocratic control is another violent act, rather than a solution.
It examines its subject with real cost, and in true Kubrick fashion, the story closes in on itself at the last moment and becomes cinematic reverie of the highest order with a visually arresting final series of shots suggestively depicting Alex returning to his old ultraviolent self through his non-repellent fantasies. Casting a coldly pessimistic view on the then-future of the late 1970s, Kubrick and production designer John Barry created a world of high-tech cultural decay, mixing old details like bowler hats with bizarrely alienating "new" environments like the Milkbar. Kubrick explores the central questions of Anthony Burgess' novel, but with his trademark subversive, clinical vision. After aversion therapy, Alex behaves like a good member of society, but not by choice. His goodness is involuntary; he has become the titular clockwork orange — organic on the outside, mechanical on the inside. In the prison, after witnessing the Technique in action on Alex, the chaplain criticizes it as false, arguing that true goodness must come from within. This leads to the theme of abusing liberties — personal, governmental, civil — by Alex, with two conflicting political forces, the Government and the Dissidents, both manipulating Alex for their purely political ends. The story critically portrays the "conservative" and "liberal" parties as equal, for using Alex as a means to their political ends: the writer Mr Alexander wants revenge against Alex and sees him as a means of definitively turning the populace against the incumbent government and its new regime.

In its entirety, A Clockwork Orange is a nightmarishly beautiful fable of a heightened, devoid and broken future that is sadly accurate in its prediction, cementing the film as a sort of savagely bleak premonition of today's totalitarian governments, desensitized youth and prominent gang culture. Upon its release, opinion was divided on the meaning of Kubrick's detached view of this shocking future, but, whether the discord drew the curious or Kubrick's scathing diagnosis spoke to the chaotic cultural moment, and it has become one of Kubrick's most culturally significant masterpieces that hits you in the head with the director's assurance and his typical cynicism, paranoia and visual flair; it is an overwhelming, poignantly prophetic exploration of morality, a social satire of state control, crime and punishment, redemption, and a running lecture on free will that is classic cinema at its most cerebral, influential and socially significant. It is truly unmissable.

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A Clockwork Orange review

Posted : 4 years, 11 months ago on 18 January 2014 09:39

A masterpiece like all of Stanley Kubrick's films. Bizarrely told with a great deal of controversy, this film features a violent/disturbing story that combines classical music to the mix.

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A Clockwork Orange review

Posted : 5 years, 5 months ago on 17 July 2013 04:51

It seems to me that by describing horror with such elegance and beauty, Kubrick has created a very disorienting but human comedy, not warm and lovable, but a terrible sum- up of where the world is at... Because it refuses to use the emotions conventionally, demanding instead that we keep a constant, intellectual grip on things, it's a most unusual--and disorienting--movie experience.
It's Kubrick's most prescient work, more astute and unsparing than any of his other films in putting the bleakest parts of human behavior under the microscope and laughing in disgust. It was made right after his other high watermark, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as he returns to Earth from his mind-blowing brush with the cosmic, it's a sort of sequel about our planet rotting away from the inside.

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Overbaked and highly overrated

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 7 January 2013 09:03

The fact that this film is still held in such high regard is surely one of the greatest mysteries in cinema.

For the record, I love the book. It would be easy, then, to dismiss my disliking of the film as being no more than that I preferred my own vision of the story upon reading it. Alas, my reasons for not liking the film go far beyond this.

Firstly, and perhaps most significantly, I do not like Malcolm McDowell's reading of Alex at all. I find him tacky, annoying and not in the least fearsome. To be fair, Burgess wrote the infuriatingly tacky lingo that Alex uses in his relentless narration throughout the film, but I don't remember him describing Alex as an annoying, whiney Northerner.

It is not just the performance of Alex's character that misses the mark for me. Almost everyone in the film seems to think they're in an episode of Monty Python. Yes, I know it's meant to be satirical, but it's more parodical than anything. We're not laughing with it, we're laughing at it. You could be forgiven for assuming that every actor here thinks they're in a stage production and that we won't understand their character unless they shout and overact their way through each scene.

The production design is possibly an even greater crime. Rather than looking futuristic, the whole film looks so stuck n the '60s that I can't help but be completely detached from the action. The colour is overwhelming and the lighting only serves to enhance the feeling that this is a cheap TV episode, not a "classic" Warner production.

Don't even get me started about the cheesy, electronic renderings of Beethoven that plague almost every scene. What on earth were they thinking? Surely they knew that by using "state-of-the-art" synthesisers they were condemning the film to be out of date within five years. To begin with the music is mildly amusing. Soon it becomes tedious. Then downright annoying, like everything else in the film.

Quite simply, I just cannot take this film seriously. It has no impact whatsoever. Part of the film's longevity in the minds of moviegoers is said to be the controversy and the powerful, disturbing tone of the movie. Frankly, I found Bambi more disturbing, and a damn sight less tedious.

On that note, let me not forget how long, slow paced and drawn out every single scene is. By the 90 minute mark the film has gone past boring into something completely new. Needless to say, when the film finally ends, you'll find yourself struggling to resist the urge to follow Alex in jumping straight out the nearest window.

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A Very Overrated Movie

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 2 January 2013 04:37

Yes I don't care whether it's on the IMDb top 250 because it's flawed. This has to be one of the most overrated movies I have ever seen, all the fuss, just silly. It deserves about 6. It's really overrated, nothing grips me at all.
I do love some of Kubriks work but this is a failure, I mean it, one word sums this up and that is; Overrated.

Watch it if you like but you'd be lying to yourself if you found it a "masterpiece". I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, ''The Shining'' is a masterpiece.. or well better than this anyway. Respect Kubriks better work, it's certainly not this.

And although this review might not have helped you understand how overrated this film is, read Roger Ebert's review of it, although I'm not really a fan of Mr Eberts work or opinions, I do happen to make an exception of this. He enters the film and confronts it's many flaws, basically things I wouldn't even dare dip my toe in.

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A Clockwork Orange review

Posted : 5 years, 12 months ago on 23 December 2012 12:28

This is a good film however I have the same criticism for this film that I have seen in most reviews of it, whats the point of it? Having said that, I'm not one to ask questions about a good thing, and this is an amazing piece of work, a masterpiece maybe, albeit a very strange masterpiece. Acting is top quality, theme is controversial, but great in the same!

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One of the most overrated films of the 70's

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 8 October 2012 05:00

How is this film 'weird'? Obviously the people calling this film that and such, have yet to see a truly weird film, or are just in need of a dictionary. This has to be one of the most overrated and dated films ever made. I just don't get it. Oh, wait, maybe because there truly is nothing to actually 'get'. Is it that hard to figure out?

Firstly, I have not yet read the book, but I know some people who have, and they say that this film is nothing compared to the book, and not as in 'better' than the book, but it's not true to the book. People who think Alex is cool, and can't wait to read about him in the book, do not get to excited, as he's someone completely different from the film. Kubrick got it all wrong, way wrong. He's like a totally different person, in fact, so is the whole damn thing. I think the director was having a bit of a laugh. Has Kubrick no dignity? He should have read the book beforehand and then have made the film, jeez, I think that's the least I could have expected from him.

Plus, this film was really boring. It's like futuristic Britain? rofl, how's that then? It just looks like it's 1970's Britain, Stanley wasn't even trying, and you people all fell for it. Ah, my, what rubbish.

He should have made up for that pretentious mess The Space Odyssey, is this his way of saying sorry? ...Not good enough!

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A very different film...

Posted : 6 years, 6 months ago on 14 June 2012 03:36

In 1962, Anthony Burgess wrote a dystopian novel of the title "A Clockwork Orange" which to this day is regarded one of the best literary works. The novel tells the narration of Alex, the lead character, whose story takes place in a futuristic London. His interests include classical music (Beethoven specially), rape and gang-wars. But one night he commits murder and his gang, who were already aggressive over his position as a gang leader, deceive him. Alex goes to prison but then the dystopian government of England come up with a cure for "violence and crime" and they choose Alex as their subject. After Alex is "cured", he joins society again with one major defect: He has lost his capability of "Self-defense" by this cure. To make matters worse, his past begins to haunt him... While this happens, we watch spellbound as Kubrick's magical lenses capture one of the greatest disturbing thrillers of the cinematic world.

This film is not new for movie fans. For them Stanley Kubrick is a cinematic giant. It's a must-have-film in your collection. For those who haven't seen this film, let me explain it briefly.

First of all, what this film depicts is vital. The film tries to show society it's own ugly face like in one scene a drunkard cries,"Huh! Man on the Moon! Men spinning around the Earth! And there's no attention to earthly law and order!" Through similar smart dialog, brilliant satire, disturbing imagery and politics Kubrick is making fun of some of the aspects of our society. There are youngsters who reside in the criminal world, take drugs, bunk school, rape, etc. Kubrick uses Alex and his gang to represent these youngsters. Their crimes make this film look average yet mysteriously it has a visionary insight to it. In spite the disturbing content of this film, we actually find the whole experience marvelous like we are physically present there. Even after so many years, Clockwork Orange's satire still describes our slowly deteriorating world society most perfectly. Thus, Clockwork Orange's message is clear even to the dumbest of audiences.

Secondly, Kubrick's presentation. Imagine you are writing an essay for some competition. Even if your content is brilliant, your bad hand-writing can make it hard to understand. Similar theory can be applied to films. The whole production made this film look lovely and easy to sit through. This also includes the brilliant ensemble who delivered powerful performances, especially McDowell who succeeded in scaring me! The way they delivered their dialog was deliberately made sound a little "artificial". It's like Kubrick's way of telling us that in future we are going to lose happiness in the smallest of life's joys, like we are just surviving not living. The music and the set pieces beautifully reflected the futuristic world, Alex's thoughts and the so-called "dystopian" politics.

Thirdly and lastly, Clockwork Orange has made extensive use of graphic violence and sexual content including nudity. The film was banned in England for like thirty years and was Rated XXX. Well, today we have numerous films that use this medium to entertain. Kubrick uses this medium not to torture us with the reality of life but to warn us. Although the images will not seem so disturbing now as we live in a violent world, but the innovative use of this medium is engaging and grasps our attention. For Example, Alex loves to sing "I am Singin' in the Rain" when he's energetic like before raping a woman.

In conclusion, this film is extremely smart, innovative, filled with fresh perspective, elements that still surprise me every time I watch it. Kubrick's another unmissable ingenious masterpiece that seriously entertains and at the same time makes your brain cells think...

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My Favorite movie of all time

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 22 March 2012 12:19

This is a perfect movie to me.

'A Clockwork Orange' has everything.
Good acting,directing,music,visuals...
I watched this movie about 5 times,
and it still makes me chill.
Even the time goes, 'A Clockwork Orange' will
never lose it's own power.


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A Clockwork Orange review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 11 February 2012 02:03

This movie touches upon many things, what we perceive as the morbid elements of the modern society and the power relations within the actors of this society are just the two of them. Acting of Malcolm Mcdowell is praiseworthy. I suggest everyone to wacth it.

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