A Clockwork Orange (1971)
One of the most controversial, violent & disturbing films ever made, A Clockwork Orange is a meticulously crafted, ingeniously narrated & brilliantly performed cinema from Stanley Kubrick that presents the demanding perfectionist in sublime form as he blends violence, erotica, humour & classical compositions into one tightly structured & highly gripping sci-fi comedy to offer his biting take on morality, psychology & the importance of free will.
Based on the novel of the same name, the story of A Clockwork Orange is set in the future Britain and follows Alex DeLarge; a delinquent youngster who leads a small gang of thugs, and covers his crime spree with his droogs, his subsequent capture by the police & his time in prison where he learns of an experimental aversion therapy which, if he manages to pass, will get him back on the streets but not everything during his rehabilitation goes the way he expected.
Written, produced & directed by Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange makes its intentions very clear within its opening moments that it isn’t going to be an easy sit for its audience as just one evening of ‘ultra-violence’ perpetrated by Alex & his droogs is enough to scar many but this sadistic nature of the depicted savagery exists for a reason and plays a vital role in the story’s outcome for Kubrick here aims to critique the bigger problem than the evilness of an individual.
Just like any other Kubrick film, A Clockwork Orange is a work of painstaking craftsmanship that presents the filmmaker in complete control of his craft. Although his vision of the future Britain may not be entirely convincing but some of its elements are much in tune with where the current society seems to be heading. Production design team come up with set pieces that brim with sexual undertones while the excessive use of white colour is one of Kubrick’s own trademarks.
Cinematography is inventive, influential & effectively carried out for the camera makes very efficient use of its bright colourpalette, lighting, shadows, fluid movements & close-ups to capture the unfolding drama and encapsulates the whole picture with an otherworldly feel. Despite clocking in at 136 minutes, its pacing is never an issue. Plus, the seamless manner in which the already existing classical compositions are fused with its disturbing images is certainly amongst the film’s most spectacular aspects.
Coming to the acting department, A Clockwork Orange is pretty much a one-man show as Malcolm McDowell steals every moment with a charismatic but equally maniacal rendition of his character and his screen presence is so magnetic that it makes Alex DeLarge one of the most fascinating antiheroes to surface in cinema history. Although the performances by everyone including McDowell may seem overly theatrical, it eventually works out in favour of the picture for it adds a sardonic element in an already bizarre narrative.
On an overall scale, A Clockwork Orange has aged tremendously well over the years and only gets more rewarding on every subsequent viewing. Frightening & witty in equal doses, controversial on the grounds of its violent imagery yet an eye-opener when it comes to the subject of morality, this socio-political satire remains as relevant today as it was during its time of release and its critical take on mental conditioning that aims to control an individual by removing his or her ability to choose transcends the realms of psychology itself.
If any of you lewdies out there is yet to viddy this horrorshow filmdrome, then welly welly welly well, it’s time for you to peet that chasha of sladky Moloko vellocet they serve at Korova Milkbar for it would sharpen you up and make you just ready for this bit of the old ultra-violent flip ride. Best if you not viddy it with your pee & em! And now that I’m feeling a bit shagged and fagged and fashed from all this writing, it’s best not to say more. Bedway is rightway now, so best I go homeway and get a bit of spatchka. Viddy well, my friends. Viddy well. Highly recommended. Multiple viewings advised.