A Clockwork Orange

Must-See Cinema! A little of the old ultra-violence!

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Poster for the late-night classic A Clockwork OrangeA Clockwork Orange is a brilliant nightmare. Stanley Kubrick’s film takes the heavy realities of the ‘do-your-thing’ and ‘law-and-order’ syndromes, runs them through a cinematic centrifuge, and spews forth the commingled comic horrors of a regulated society. The film employs outrageous vulgarity, stark brutality and sophisticated comedy to make an opaque argument for the preservation of respect for man’s free will – even to do wrong.

Kubrick’s screenplay, based on the 1962 Anthony Burgess novel, postulates a society composed of amoral young hedonists, an older generation in retreat behind locked doors, and a political-police government no longer accountable to anyone or to any principles except expediency and tenure. In this world, where youthful gangs control the street by night and disperse by dawn, live anti-hero Malcolm McDowell and his sidekicks. They have an Orwellian argot not difficult to grasp. Their escapades include beatings, rape and murder.

Roddy McDowell's eyes wide open in A Clockwork OrangeFollowing the anti-hero’s subjection to violence aversion therapy, the film’s resolution is ambiguous to say the least. Is McDowell at last the subdued ‘Orange’ that runs like ‘Clockwork’ or has human nature begun to heal itself?

– Variety Movie Guide


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