Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Aubrey Morris
Never Underestimate The Power Of Revenge
Kubrick’s classic adaptation of the novel by Anthony Burgess. A timeless dystopian adventure told through the eyes of ‘Alex DeLarge’ (Malcolm McDowell); fond of rape, assault, general ‘Ultra-Violence’ and Ludwig Van.
Alex is caught at the scene of a night out of ‘Ultra-Violence’; he is convicted of murder, and sentenced to 14 years in jail. After 2 years, he is subject to an experimental abhorrent therapy called ‘The Ludovico Treatment’ designed by the government – But can the government really get a firm grip on society?
It is common knowledge that this film involves heavy violence, and thus great perturbation. But this trepidation is mostly incurred due to the more implicative aspects of the story later, and how it satirically latches onto the real world through poetry, artistry and vague surrealism.
The physical violence is more so in the early portions of the film, to give an insight into the inner workings of ‘Alex’, and is done so with great imagery.
‘Alex’ is defined to be a very basic human, but basic in the sense of primal urges and instincts. His instincts are a distorted sense of primitive nature, and he seems to prey upon the weakest members of modern society, as well as a simultaneous display of immense courage and power. This, in fact, shows ‘Alex’ to be some form of coward in a way. Though, despite that, he is still an incredibly frightening character who seems to be near enough devoid of any emotion unless subject to any form of serious negativity.
The objective behind the film flips in the middle, the first half of the movie or so highlights the basic flaws of human nature; that despite the generic civilised placation of modern society, there is no way to rid a person of all archaic proclivities that have been amidst since the dawn of time. The key to counteract this being mental self control, but only due to contemporary hierarchical civility.
‘Alex’ appears to have no self control; he displays no interest in anything other than ‘Ultra-Violence’, sex, and Ludwig Van. This makes him the perfect candidate for ‘The Ludovico Treatment’.
The government view the deterioration of society, and consider ways to fix it. Looking for good within the bad, and therefore turning attention towards the penal system…Reforming criminals, for ‘the good of society’. The film makes an excellent definition of good and bad, as well as the implications of ‘The Ludovico Treatment’; “Goodness comes from within, goodness is something to be chosen; when a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.”
‘Alex’ is an extreme form of the modern day teenager, 38 years and this is truer than ever. There is a distinct lack of parental control within the family, the youth are getting increasingly desensitised to forms of violence and sex to the point where they are not shocking or perturbing, but exhilarating and entertaining. The government are consistently launching various campaigns to put an end to all forms of criminal dilemmas, ironically often using scare tactics incorporating forceful perturbation. Not to mention discouraging foul speech via the fallacies of “Political Correctness”.
These disturbing methods are that used in the film, to fight fire with fire, by pacifying a violent man by using imagery not dissimilar from the acts he has caused. Although, an interesting point to make, is that during ‘The Ludovico Treatment’, Beethoven’s 9th was played over some of the video played to ‘Alex’ – He deemed this as more of a sin than the actual imagery itself, and makes you contemplate the actual depth of his immorality.
Later on, after ‘Alex’ has been brainwashed, he suddenly becomes a victim of his previous actions. He even resorts to crawling in the mud, in the pouring rain, and ending up at the residence of someone he tormented before prison; someone who would love vengeance, bringing about the question as to whether the rest of civilisation is actually any better than criminals, once again, bringing to light the point of self control.
Crawling in the rain; an image of sympathy, one would assume, but not at all. ‘Alex’ makes a clear point that he begins to loathe in self pity, but only self pity, and doesn’t expect it from the audience. This is just as well, for he is incredibly undeserving, as shown in the opening scenes of the film.
The opening scenes contain the most violent imagery; but it is incredibly captivating. The violence feels as if it’s choreographed like a dance, rather than a fight scene, and the songs played during such acts give a heavily ambivalent sense of enthrallment and disgust. Is it due to modern desensitisation that we are unable to break our gazes from such horrific and extreme acts of indecency?
The film overall is remarkably captivating, even in scenes of simple dialogue, and make for a totally absorbing film. The dialogue can often be incredibly poetic, and ‘Alex’s narration is pleasing to listen to due to the incredibly well mannered execution of his speech. Poetic dialogue can sometimes be a hard thing to achieve in a film, it can often come out as contrived, forced, or out of place. But ‘A Clockwork Orange’ gives a fantastic balance between forms of dialogue.
Each vitally important character has a very distinctive manner of conversing, their own unmistakable niches and nuances making for a vast set of colourful and unique characters. For example, a detective who has quite a high-pitch piercing voice, or even ‘Alex’ who is very posh, and only swears once or twice using the word “bastard” descriptively.
The film is not only beauty in text, but beauty in appearance. Kubrick obtains some incredibly unique and wonderful shots, as well as general imagery within certain scenes. The milkbar for example, is awash with metaphorical imagery; the matt white nude female statues, the black walls with white text, the generic fascination with milk. As well as the iconic outfits of the ‘Droogs’: all white, with black hats.
This truly is an unmistakably iconic film, its controversy is blatant, and it’s deserving of its cult status. As long as there is governmental rule over society; the films message will most likely never die out, and this is why it will remain a timeless classic.
An incredible, well manifested ambivalent contradictory mix of beautiful captivation, and tormenting trepidation – 10 out 10.
Please Visit: Tecurious