external image A%20Clockwork%20Orange.jpg


Director: Stanley Kubrick
Release Date: February 2, 1972

Synopsis
Set in Britain, Alex is leader of a violent street gang that pillages the streets wrecking havoc, which includes murder and rape. But one night, his gang of hooligans turn against him and beat him nearly to death and leave him wounded in the streets for the police to find and arrest him for the crimes committed. In hopes to shorten his sentence, Alex agrees to be the guinea pig in an experimental “aversion therapy”. This treatment entailed Alex to wear a straight jacket while forced to watch clips of extreme violence under the influence of drugs that are to induce reactions of revulsion towards the violence and some of these clips are linked together with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Alex’s favorite). After being diagnosed as “cured” he is set free only to eventually find his way back to his violent past.


My Review
Although this film was based in Britain, it is a cult classic here in America. And the reason it is a classic is because there is no other movie out there that is quite like this one. The originality bursts through every scene. I will admit that it takes a certain type of person to appreciate the film for what it is worth, as most people I have questioned on this film found it “disgusting” and “weird” (the most common words I came upon). The psychological aspect of this film is captivating, to imagine that our thought process and out behaviors can be manipulated by a sequence of images stringed together and paired with psychotropic drugs and music. Malcolm McDowell was gave a compelling performance as we see him transform from violent gang leader to an emotionless drone. Keeping in mind that this film was released in the early 70s, the graphic content was surely ahead of its time, which was probably why Kubrick set the film in the future. But I could only imagine the reviews the film saw upon its debut. Violence, rape, and murder are shown as casual acts among these young men.


Academic Analysis
Critics did not receive this film well when it was released. In fact, Roger Ebert states, “A Clockwork Orange commits another, perhaps even more unforgiveable, artistic sin. It is just plain talky and boring” (rogerebert.com). "For the next two years after its release, Britons debate Kubrick's film, some lauding it for its artistry and social relevance, others condemning it for glorifying violence" (pbs.org). But Kubrick revolutionized the use of camera angles to help tell the story. Kubrick's most obvious photographic device was the wide-angle lens. He used them on things that were close to the camera, distorting the sides of the image. The objects in the center of the screen look normal, but those on the edges tend to slant upward and outward, becoming bizarrely elongated (Soheback, 93). Kubrick uses the wide-angle lens almost all the time when he is showing events from Alex's point of view; this encourages us to see the world as Alex does, as a crazy-house of people out to get him. The voice-over narration also creates Alex's persona (Isaacs, 125).



Resources


Academic:
Isaacs, N. D. (1973). Unstuck in time: Clockwork orange and slaughterhouse-five. Literature Film Quarterly, 1(2), 122.



Soheback, V. C. (1981). Decor as theme: A clockwork orange. Literature Film Quarterly, 9(2), 92.

Web:
www.imdb.com This websire provided general information such as: director, actors, release date, and summary.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/flashpoints/theater/clockworkorange.html This website provided information about the UK premeire.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19720211/REVIEWS/202110301/1023 This website gives the original review from none other than the infamous Roger Ebert.