Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick and Anthony Burgess
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri, and Warren Clarke
We begin in a dystopian future United Kingdom. Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his fellow droogs (gang) are having a drink of narcotics laced milk at the Korova Milk Bar. Later they head out for a night of debauchery.
They first run into a homeless drunk beneath a bridge and beat him. They then head to an abandoned casino where they interrupt a rape being perpetuated by a rival gang. After dispatching them, the droogs and Alex then head into the country for more “fun”.
In the country they discover a posh house in the middle of the woods. After worming his way into the house, Alex lets his fellow miscreants in and they proceed to attack Mr. and Mrs. Alexander (Patrick Magee and Adrienne Corri); injuring Mr. Alexander and raping Mrs Alexander.
But Alex is not an orphan of the future. He lives at home with his parents and is checked on by the school authorities. He also lives life on the razors edge, and has made enemies looking for him to fall. Included on this list are his own droogs.
A Clockwork Orange still holds the distinction of being the most disturbing film I have ever watched. What gives it is edge is the actual possibility of the future it predicts. A future where a soldier can be stabbed and hacked on the street, the assailant proceed to someone filming his action and rant a diatribe with blood on his hand, a woman causally walks down the sidewalk carrying groceries through the assailant’s rant, and all while the soldier bleeds to death on the street with no one coming to his aid.
In the end, Alex is a high school student with preoccupied parents in an uncaring and abusive eduction system.
Kubrick’s cold flat shots serve the material well. You are given no one to care about and you shouldn’t. Kubrick removes the one character you should be sympathetic about, Mr. Alexander, by purposely having Patrick Magee overact the part. You can’t care for him because you are laughing at him for the ridiculousness of his actions & reactions.
A Clockwork Orange use of music and sound is exemplary. From Beethoven’s 5th to Singing in the Rain, to the original score, all the music used enhances the disturbing quality of watching the film.
Though not for everyone, A Clockwork Orange is a film that should be watched at least once. You may say to yourself you will never watch again, but don’t be surprised if you do.
Grade = A