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The film that made me love cinema. Well, I already did before watching "A Clockwork Orange" but after I had the strange desire for something more. I wanted to make films more than anything else! It set the tombstone on other vocational aspirations and things have stayed like that ever since. But enough about me. I 'm here to write about the film and that I shall do. The film is a masterpiece and a book adaptation. Adaptations tend to be bad don't they? Nevertheless this is an amazing adaptation because it is directed by Kubrick, a man whose directional career was based on adaptations but he always failed to dissapoint. So, believe me when I say it, you 're in good hands.
The movie is set in the future, the future from 1971 that is and not a very distant one too. So in that time, in London, we have our hero and narrator. Alex DeLarge. He is a hero alright. He is a guy who leads a gang of three goons that rape, kill, steal and drink milk with all sorts of drugs in it. Naturally, being all tyranic towards his droogs and up on his high horse against the world around him, he soon finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Betrayed by his friends, he ends in prison, convicted for murder. There he will try anything to get out and when the chance arises he reaps it. He becomes the subject for a "treatment" to being a criminal that leaves him unable of defending himself, getting sick when approached by violent or sexual feelings and even when listening to his beloved Beethoven. What will happen to this pawn of the goverment, this clockwork man? The ending is quite ambiguous but it is fitting and open to interpretation. Until we reach that point though we experience on of the greatest cinematic rides ever on a disturbing, violent but also deeply thought provoking rollercoaster.
About the direction, as forementioned, Kubrick does one hell of an adaptation. But as in all of his adaptations he moves beyond that. He transcends the film to a whole new level infusing it with his own subtext on any given occasion. It is amazing how he proves that cinema is the right medium for this story. It is his precise camerawork, his wonderful static takes, one the most amazing long takes in cinema history and even his handheld work and close-ups that make the movie what it is. That's because these ain't no common cinema techniques when he uses them. They become moves of a masterful orchestrator that handles completely his material as well as his audience. Noteworthy is also the use of music. Whether we are talking about the drowny, piercing ambient pieces composed for the movie or the epic works of Beethoven every piece of music is used in a style that set an intimidating tone, almost commanding our every emotion.
The movie succeeds in the acting area too. Every character is played a wee bit OTT, I believe mostly to underline the satire and the social commentary scattered around the film. To give us the impression of a sick society, one that's liable and expected to breed an antichrist like Alex and then destroy him again. Still, the movie is a bit unfair to actors as it is clearly the Malcolm McDowell show. Now, that's not a bad thing. After all McDowell has such a small amount of good parts and roles in his filmography that this one clearly and proudly stands out. And rightly so. His Alex is really a demon. Violent, delirious and flamboyant. He turns from hooligan to charming talker and seductive victim in the blink of an eye, even dragging along our feelings and distorting our view of this most beastial and flat out cruel human being.Hold on that thought.
Now is the time to think about it. Because this is one of the goals of the film. As a powerful piece on it's own it tries to manipulate our POV and lead us to sympathise with Alex 'cause of him being manipulated by the goverment. There lies another concept. The actions of a manipulative, almost totalitarian, goverment. The hypocrisy and use of these people to gain popularity. Makes you think: What heights will they reach in their attempts to maintain control? Also we have the vengeful society itself. Once they have a shot at Alex they all mercilessly go for it. So, basically, they are not better than their rulers and Alex himself. Alex is a puppet at their hand violated to an incredible deegre. But the uncertainty and ambiguity of the film gathers around one point. All these things are meaningless and only Alex himself can choose in the end. After all he survived the ride and played his joke on them. Throughout the film we see him fed, cleaned and housed by his victims, adversaries whether that's the goverment or someone else. He gets along easily despite his hardships were as he should have been stopped, plain and simple. Ironic isn't it? It is a weird view on society because he ends up being a catalyst without stopping one second from being an absolute disgrace to humanity. It is very disturbing to see the power he ultimately has. it makes you contemplate on how far is that from today's society. How prophetic could this film be?
For any film fan it is absolutely necessary to get familiar with Kubrick's filmography. This is a good starting point. But it is also a film that should be viewed by everyone because it puts its high artistry and controversial subjects in a great form that could be called mainstream. While it is challenging, I believe it is also self-imposing enough to provoke almost any viewer into thinking and also entertain. And it will always hold the No1 spot for me.