2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Shining are two of my all time favorite films, so it was only a matter of time before I watched one of Stanley Kubrick’s other classics: A Clockwork Orange. I had only heard great things about this film before watching it, so I was eager to dive in. I will be remaining spoiler free.
A Clockwork Orange takes place in a future/ dystopian future in England and follows Alex (Malcolm McDowell) who spends his nights with his “Droogs” performing horrendous acts of violence and rape. After being jailed for murder, Alex undergoes an experimental treatment to be “cured” of his violent way and is sent back out into the world.
Wow… what a film. So many emotions. I’m still wrapping my head around everything I just watched, but I’ll try my best to disclose my thoughts on the film.
Right off the bat, the first thirty minutes or so were very strange. It’s hard to decipher what the overall tone and pacing of the film is, and to be quite honest, I didn’t really enjoy it. You don’t really get a sense of what or who these characters are or what type of world it is they live in. It’s hard to describe, but a lot of these scenes are just… weird. This had me worried for the rest of the film. After viewing the entire thing, though, I started to see why a lot of these scenes and moments were put in the film, and I began to really appreciate them. There are a lot of elements which come into play later in the movie.
Once the move starts to focus more on the main plot is when I really started to get invested. When one of Alex’s nights don’t go as planned, he is jailed and that’s when things get into full swing and stays like that for the rest of the movie.
This film raises so many deep questions about violence, free will, and consequences. I was always thinking about the levity of each situation and what it meant for the characters. I’m still thinking about some of these questions that center around Alex.
Let’s talk about Alex. He is not a good person by any means. He rapes women, causes destruction, and beats old men in the street, but there’s something about Malcolm McDowell’s spectacular performance that makes him such a likable character. His charisma and attitude towards things are so innocent, even in the face of danger, that it’s hard not to love the guy. This is coupled greatly by his narration. One thing that was clear to me, though, is he is insane, like mentally ill. He lives this double life and never once has any second thoughts about his actions.This is what makes his personal story so interesting.
Stanley Kubrick’s direction is amazing as always. His use of shots and long takes in this film remind me the reason I want to become a filmmaker. He does such a great job of conveying character emotions and showing the audience what he wants them to see.
There were only a few things I didn’t like about A Clockwork Orange.
There are some scenes that drag on for quite a bit, and I feel like they could have been shortened greatly, although I do understand that this was the normal pacing for the time. I feel like Alex’s Droogs could’ve gotten more development which would’ve made some scenes more impactful. The ending of the film also kind of stops the momentum of what was set up before it.
Overall, though, this is an amazing movie, and I’m glad I finally got around to watching it. There’s still so much to wrap my head around that I will be needing to rewatch a second time in the near future.
Rating – 9/10