More often than not, I find myself lost when viewing “Old by decades” movies. Like this one, which surpasses me with about 30 yrs. I find myself conflicted by it.. and left wondering what the point was. Wondering if its the movie or the fact that I don’t “get it”, because of the period in which it arrived to peoples cinematic vision. While watching A Clockwork Orange, I very much grasped the fact that the movie is solid and splendidly created but in the end I did not really much care for it.
In a “Britain of the Future” type setting, we find a gang of teen miscreants who submerge them selves in an almost ritualistic rampage every night. An ultra-violent experience where they proceed to beat and rape defenseless victims. One night, we find Alex the protagonist and his brothers attempting another one of their sexual slaughters. However in this case things go awry, as Alex is left by his flock.. abandoned to take the blame for the break in and a horrible thing that has occurred.
This directly leads to our story narrator Mr. Alex to be pitched into prison. While imprisoned, he submits to a controversial government experiment, that makes evil-doers do wrong no more. Thus, allowing him to enter once more into society and live life like an ordinary citizen. Sadly, Alex’s various victims have the healthy desire to salute him back with an equal enthusiasm that he and his droogs always showed when tracking their crime tracks.
Looking at A Clockwork Orange simply as a film.. you can surely see that it is well put together. There is really no surprise that it’s one of Stanley Kubrick’s creations, because his signature is all over it. The bazaar cinematic effects and bold use of color, is trade mark Kubrick. Plus, the grittiness in everything seen also shows us great Kubrick magic. In one part we find a whole scene fast forward so that we can view a long period of time.. progressing in a matter of minutes.
It was flawless and splendid. It was so good that it made me feel bad. Seeing many of the great features that this film holds, left me disappointed and dissatisfied. Even though I realize that the film is solid and enigmatically deliciously crafted.. I still felt like in the end, I did not actually “Get It”.
The acting was great (overly dramatic) but still great. Malcolm McDowell did a fine job, in his portrayal of an ultra-violence loving sociopath. He played Alex overblown and satirical to an almost outlandish comedic way. His acting job is the one that stands out from the bunch, for while the rest did well.. no other particularly stood out.
If there was one thing in particular that I loved about the movie was the fact that our sexual deviant Alex, was in complete love with Beethoven. It gave this ultra-killer a bit of intelligence and sophistication to his other wise complete Nutzo persona.
Filled with violence and sexual gore, A Clockwork Orange furiously pushes the envelope. I could very well imagine that in the seventies, graphic sex and violence was a fresh way to visually arouse the minds of viewers.. but as I see it myself today.. it looks ordinary if not over-indulgent. The kind of “shock footage” found in this film, seems to detract from the point rather than adding to it.
The nudity in particular was a problem for me. I find that Kubrick seemed (as he has now passed away) to love to smother u with an engorgement of nakedness. Now, I have absolutely no quarry with flesh being shown, but sometimes you can take beauty for granted. In this film, I found that he was using bodily bareness in every scene that he could possibly toss it in.
A total over indulgence of it. Sometimes you can utilize something so much that it looses its freshness and shock value appeal.. to the point where as Im watching.. Im saying: “Dude.. I get it” Then again it could be just me. Im sure there are plenty of people saying.. that it needed more of the goodies… But at some point you just loose the element of surprise.
In the end.. I find that A Clockwork Orange is a well constructed film, driven with a comedic Nutzo point of view that was different in its time and is even more delightful than most movies that you’ll view in the 2000’s. If your interested in a film that is full of ultra-violence and holds no restraint in selling the sexual.. than this is your type of film.
For those who don’t enjoy being perturbed in a cinema way.. then this might not be the gross Nutzo movie for you. This is surely a great movie from Stanley Kubrick that is visually compelling.. I just wish I could have gotten what all the classic fuss is about.