A Clockwork Orange (1971) (R)
"A Clockwork Orange" is my least favorite Stanley Kubrick film that I've seen thus far. Now, there are a few that I have yet to see, but I am confident to say that this is at the bottom of the pile.
"A Clockwork Orange" has been called the first "punk" movie—I'm not exactly sure what this is supposed to mean but it seems apropos...I guess?
This movie is based on the Anthony Burgess novella of the same name. Dystopian in style and execution, it wasn't until the movie that it gained mass recognition.
One thing about "A Clockwork Orange" is the language, verbs are replaced with child sounding phrases. In the book it was much easier to follow because you are seeing the words and then the repetition and usage gives meaning to them. In the movie, it's less so—partly because of the heavily synthesized soundtrack that is always blaring in the background and partly because of Malcolm McDowell's whispered calmness.
This movie was famously disturbing, upon its release it was rated 'X' and only recently lost its severe rating. But to say that this is a kid's movie is highly illogical and not responsible parenting...just sayin'.
Alex and his "droogs" are having a real "horrorshow" night. They are the teenage renegades of the age. They rape and disrupt and evade the authorities...sounds normal, right?
"A Clockwork Orange" is set in a different society, is it futuristic or in the past? Who knows?
In this film, Kubrick is too smart for his own good. "A Clockwork Orange", the book, is about corruption, redemption, and is anti-government. The movie's themes are much more muted and subdued under the glaring visual features and the cruel lens with which Kubrick films the movie.
Kubrick's sings are ever present: the soundtrack, the wide angle shots, the unflinching camera, and the unnecessary droning on.
The book and movie differ, Anthony Burgess (much like Stephen King and "The Shining") wasn't thrilled with the movie adaptation. Burgess claimed that Kubrick missed the entire point of the novel—this, I agree with.
The movie seems to show Alex's acts of violence in a good light...not necessarily glorifying but not condemning either.
Kubrick fans are frightening, try telling them that their esteemed director is overrated...yeah, see how well that works out with you. "A Clockwork Orange" is a favorite of many people—I'm not sure why.
The ending of the movie entire compromises what the book was trying to accomplish.
This is why I said Kubrick was too smart for his own good—the themes that he was showing are so folded into the film that they are hard to pick out. To Kubrick these may have seemed obvious, to me, not so much.
Kubrick is undoubtably smarter than the average bear...to borrow a quaint colloquialism; yet I found his movie clunky and loud.
"A Clockwork Orange" is bloated, disturbing, and stale.
Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones