Saturday, October 19, 2013

212 of 1001 Movies: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

If A Clockwork Orange is Kubrick's work that isn't horror and it's as chilling as this then I fear seeing The Shining. Of the three I've seen though from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, and now A Clockwork Orange it definitely is one of his stronger ones. The colors are popping in the movie and stand in stark contrast to the dark nature of Alex. The movie follows the book quite well, and still sticks with exploring the interesting topic of whether it's a good idea to try to force a person into being good rather than letting them make that choice.

Summary: Alex exists in future Britain using his charismatic charm to lure in unsuspecting victims to his violent crimes he commits with his friends at night. After a violent act goes wrong though, and his friends turn on him, he is left to the police and arrested. While in jail, Alex becomes desperate to get out, and he uses anyone that can make that happen. He volunteers for an aversion therapy conducted by the government in order to lower crime. Alex's confidence is shattered when the therapy goes as unplanned.

Acting: Malcom McDowell stars as yours truly, Alex. I haven't honestly seen McDowell in much, but his face is recognizable. He gives an eerie performance that does bring out why people are lured to Alex very well. He makes him scary, but he also shows the nature that makes people interested in him well. The guy can't be straight up just creepier because he does trick people into opening their doors for him so he can attack their household, and getting girls to come back to his room for threesomes. Since this story is told from Alex's point of view, he even narrates, it leaves you unfocused on the other characters as well. They just seem like backdrops to Alex's insanity while he's made a test subject. In a way it's nice revenge on him for a bit.

Filming: There are some aspects I liked and some aspects I didn't. I'm still debating whether all the scenes of nudity were needed. There almost is no part of the movie that doesn't have breasts flashed in them. In a way maybe it does just show the deepness of Alex's inability to feel for his victims, and he doesn't care for people so why would he perceive women in any other way than to degrade them? That is apart of his evil nature. Besides that the early 70's is alive and thriving in this movie. With huge bell bottom pants, one piece suits, and the hair, it's very dated but also somehow still modernly cool. Apart from that you have these vibrant colors that only add to the oddness.

Plot: The question that the plot presents is one that makes the movie a genius work. If you have a violent man like Alex is it better to force him into submission to good by making the thoughts of violence repulsive, or is it better to promote choice, even if the person will only make bad choices? It isn't about gaining sympathy for Alex or trying to make is character appealing to the viewer. It's about the dangers of the government getting involved with controlling thoughts, even if it's just those of criminals. A lot of people stated struggling with the movie because they felt Kubrick was trying to garner some sympathy toward Alex, and I never got that. I never wanted to see Alex get away for what he did, but I will say I did want to see him make a real choice to not to do bad. It isn't about feeling for him, but rather hoping that someone can change, but without being forced to. Even if the government is to succeed in brainwashing him under that layer of repulsion he feels he still wants to do violence making him a time bomb.

A Clockwork Orange is an eerie movie that has a point that isn't easy for anyone to digest. It has unsettling images, and an evil lead character that you can't at any point think they are trying to get you to like. The images could be compared to those that Alex had to watch when being brainwashed though. Was it just to do something to the viewer's mind?

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