In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan.
Protagonist Alex DeLarge is an "ultraviolent" youth in futuristic Britain. As with all luck, his eventually runs out and he's arrested and convicted of murder and rape. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental program in which convicts are programed to detest violence. If he goes through the program, his sentence will be reduced and he will be back on the streets sooner than expected. But Alex's ordeals are far from over once he hits the mean streets of Britain that he had a hand in creating. Written by
Kubrick maintained the tradition of putting the words "The End" in the end credits of all his movies, long after the industry had abandoned it. See more »
During Alex's slow-motion attack on his gang members by the Marina River, a dirty black patch appears---then disappears----on the leg of his white trousers. See more »
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.
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There are no opening credits after the title, which is followed by the opening shot of Alex the Droog. Although it is now commonplace for major films to not have opening credits, in 1971 it was considered rather unusual and was considered a trademark of director Stanley Kubrick. See more »
In England Alex and his droogs are just one of many small gangs of youths who live for thrills experienced through ultra-violence and forced in and out with girls. Internal conflict with his droogs sees Alex abandoned at a crime scene where he is arrested. Faced with 14 years in jail Alex tries to get involved in a new Government led initiative to rehabilitate criminals.
I imagine I'm in the same boat as many users here. I first saw Clockwork Orange many years ago on a pirate copy where the words `sound quality' and `visual sharpness' didn't play any part. It wasn't till recently that I was able to watch it on a screen without squinting, when Kubrick's ban was lifted in the UK. At this point I waited several years till it came to TV before revisiting it I wanted to watch it away from media hype and make my own mind up.
What I found was a film that was taking it's points from the debate that was going on at the time over treatment of criminals. The plot is worthy and does set up a situation that becomes more relevant every year in the UK that of violent disaffected youth. However Kubrick doesn't look at the wider impact of society on Alex, he only looks at Alex and how he is treated now by society. His life consists of sex and violence all for thrills, a picture that is all too realistic. However only in the second half does Kubrick make some strong points about the nature of people and how society can be as cruel as individuals.
Most of the film is a sort of arty porn type of film. That's not to criticise it for this, but it does feel like Kubrick is concentrating more on style rather than content. Visually the film works well, even if some of the scenes of sexual violence I felt were more than they needed to be and it felt like it was revelling in the very things it was criticising. However at it's heart the story is a good idea and it is told in a weird way that holds the attention.
Alex's weird childlike use of made up words make it feel like he really is a teenager trying to create a world different from his parents and plenty of the images show the reality of his world. McDowell delivers another great performance and effortlessly carries the film. However his constant swagger could be criticised for being too much, but at the key moments of weakness he brings out Alex's fear well. The rest of the support cast give good Orwellian authority figures or vengeful victims well.
Overall this film is worth watching once simply because of the hype. Now that it's no longer banned it will lose much of the credit it gave you when you could tell people that you'd seen it (now every school kid can rent it on video!) and may lose some critical support as a result. McDowell is great but Kubrick works harder on his style than making clear, strong points through narrative.
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