Still Ticking After All These Years
By Peter D., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB
A Clockwork Orange
Warner Brothers (1971)
Few movies are as shocking, disturbing, and marvelous as Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece "A Clockwork Orange". If you are very conservative or easily offended then this movie is most definitely not for you; on the other hand, if you can see past all the graphic scenes then you can truly enjoy one of the greatest movies of all time and see all that it has to offer.
The film takes place in the near future and revolves around a student named Alex Delarge
(Malcolm McDowell) whose principal interests are: ultra violence, rape, and Ludwig Van Beethoven. The movie starts with Alex and his "droogs" sitting in a milk bar planning what acts of violence and rape they are going to commit that night. The movie then continues to show many scenes of Alex and his droogs beating up other boys, breaking into houses, raping women etc. Eventually Alex's droogs grow tired of him bossing them around all the time, so during a break in they trick Alex and as a result he gets arrested. He is then brought to a prison where after two years is chosen to be a test subject for a new government experiment to transform criminals into beings with no thoughts of their own, that will not commit any acts of violence. The program transforms him into a "clockwork orange". Alex is then released back into the free world; but has he actually been transformed completely?
It is not hard to believe that this movie takes place in the near future because it looks like it takes place the near future. Most of the areas where this film was shot resemble our world today except severely damaged because of all the violence and lack of justice. Of course there are one
or two places that Kubrick made very futuristic looking because obviously in the future there are going to be some changes to architecture.
Malcolm McDowell plays the role of Alex perfectly. He is able to get into the character of an extremely psychologically disturbed teenager without any trouble. From seeing his piercing glare at the beginning of the movie it's evident that he knows what he is doing, and as a result the movie is very believable. There are many other minor roles in the movie, however they all pale in comparison to Alex.
Stanley Kubrick of course does an amazing job bringing this movie together. The camera shots almost have a psychotic feel to them, which suites the movie very well. Kubrick also added many small little touches to the movie that most directors would not. For example, during one scene he purposely changes the amount of wine in Alex's glass for each take, just so the audience would feel disoriented. The movie is sometimes confusing and hard to follow but it should not be blamed on Kubrick because the novel it is based on is very confusing.
The soundtrack is made up of many classical selections (more so Beethoven then any other composer) and some original futuristic music composed by Wendy Carlos. These all add to the atmosphere of the movie, which for the most part is very dark. Also if you watch the movie you will see that the soundtrack even plays a key roll in the plot.
This film is so rich in symbolism that I cannot even begin to explain it. It is so rich that the first time you watch this movie you will most likely be sidetracked by all the symbols and not grasp what is actually happening in the film. A Clockwork Orange is also very ironic, although you would have to watch the movie more then once to pick up on most of it. For example, the drugs that they give Alex during the experiment are referred to as vitamins.
This is ironic because the drugs are going to ultimately destroy his life.
This is truly an amazing movie that has stood the test of time and still has so much to offer. My only real complaint would be the excessive nudity; it really is not necessary. Aside from that I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who is open minded and old enough to appreciate all 136 minutes of it.
Back to Front Page