Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Halloween Movie #4

Synopsis: Sadistic, sing-songy psychopath scares society; security state strikes swiftly, sacrificing sicko’s sanity. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Stomping, whomping, stealing, singing, tap-dancing, violating. Derby-topped teddy-bear hooligan Alex (Malcolm McDowell) has his own way of having a good time. He has it at the tragic expense of others.” 

What Did I Learn?: 1) Only psychos enjoy the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. 2) A giant ceramic penis can be used as a murder weapon.

You Might Like This Movie If: You firmly believe Beethoven and Gene Kelly are the perfect musical accompaniments for sex and violence. [Apparently, Kelly was furious about this scene – which is difficult to watch, and not safe for work, by the way]

Really?: A Clockwork Orange is a weird science fiction movie set in a dystopian future, so it might not be entirely fair to judge it in terms of its credibility, but come on... why in the world would Alex belt out “Singin’ in the Rain” near the end of the movie when he knows he’s in a dangerous situation that could get a whole lot worse if the old writer is able to recognize him? That seems incredibly stupid.  Oh – and I can see why the state would want to condition Alex against violence, but consensual sex with another adult? 

Rating: I realize A Clockwork Orange is widely considered to be a cinematic classic, but it left me feeling cold. After watching Full Metal Jacket and 2001: A Space Odyssey, it seems to me that Stanley Kubrick had a knack for creating memorable scenes, larger-than-life characters, and visually-stunning films, but had trouble with the basic task of telling a story. The biggest problem with A Clockwork Orange is that aside from the prison chaplain, the movie is devoid of sympathetic characters. The audience is revolted by Alex’s acts of violence early on; enough so, that it’s quite difficult to care one way or another about him after he’s “cured”, and falls on hard times. A Clockwork Orange isn’t a bad movie, but I don’t plan on ever seeing it again. 6/10 stars.

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