Saturday, September 18, 2010

Capsule Review: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Still controversial after all these years, A Clockwork Orange (adapted from the Anthony Burgess novel) is a garish dystopian sci-fi meditation on morality which has faced accusations of glorifying violence since its release in 1971. I'm sympathetic to these accusations as while the character of Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell in his greatest and most recognizable role) is shown to be terrifying and vicious, his actions are matched by the dehumanizing effects of behaviorism promoted by the government. In the face of such wide reaching hypocrisy, Alex - who also serves as a narrator - really does become a sort of particularly reprehensible anti-hero. Director Stanley Kubrick may be interested in morality, but he doesn't moralize over the character's actions, and the intense violence and copious amounts of nudity remain startling (though have obviously been tamed by the film's the have come since). A cold and technically magnificent film with countless memorable scenes (particularly the rape scene accompanied by McDowell's performance of "Singing In The Rain"), and a terrificly odd soundtrack of classical music interpretations composed by Wendy Carlos, A Clockwork Orange is worthy of discussion and remains one of Kubrick's most interesting and talked about works.

1 comment:

Travis said...

To this day there are still professional dumbasses supporting BF Skinner's views on both a micro and a macro scale. I really, really can't stand behaviorists.