A Clockwork Orange Reviews
The use of violence as a salve for boredom, violence as a curative for crime, hell, the lack of any easy answers, all of it makes this an intriguing film, and once you're thoroughly enmeshed in the language and style of it all.
Visually innovative, cynical, wonderfully darkly comic satire. It gets inside your head and takes up residence. It's powerful imagery and statements stay with you, and it asks you questions, to which some of the answers aren't nice to think about.
Although 30 years apart, A Clockwork Orange reminds me a lot of Requiem for a Dream. Both films explore a group of troubled young adults who get their hands far too deep into something dangerous. For Requiem it was drugs, Clockwork it was violence. Both films also do a nice job at miraculously making criminals likable, or at least people who you can have sympathy for. Most of all, both films are thought provoking pieces of art, but something that I never want to re-watch.
Clockwork particularly follows Alex DeLarge, a delinquent who takes a lot of joy out of committing crime. But his heinous crimes of rape and murder finally catch up to him and he's sent to jail, where an offer to rehabilitate and set him free catches his eye (pun intended). Before I get into the meat of what this film deals with, it's worth talking about Stanley Kubrick for a second. He's directed some of the most famous, and usually divisive, films of the 20th century. All visually stunning, thought provoking, and graphic in detail. A Clockwork Orange is all of those things, but there's no particular moment that I want to revisit, and perhaps that was Kubrick's intent. Perhaps, he wanted the audience to always feel uneasy and on the edge of their seat. Perhaps, Kubrick wanted us to go through a similar treatment to what Alex underwent. The Ludovico technique.
Kubrick has a knack for producing imagery that will never leave your mind. Just as I'll never look at hotel rooms the same after The Shining, or A.I. after 2001, I don't think I'll ever be able to erase the image of Alex brutally raping and murdering a woman while singing 'Singin' in the Rain'. Shocking, disturbing, you name it. That was an extremely powerful scene. That pretty much goes for the whole film as well. Malcom McDowell provides an engrossing and charismatic turn as Alex. I'm sure it's incredibly difficult to make this character someone who you actually root against and then subsequently root for, but he does it. And that's not even mentioning the difficult physicality of this role.
Overall, A Clockwork Orange is a film filled with deep and dark themes that will stick with you long after you see them. Great performances and great directing from Kubrick power the film through what should be purely exploitative, into something influential.
+McDowell's impressive performance physically and emotionally
-Difficult to imagine myself ever revisiting it