31 January 2017 | tyson-hunsaker
A controversial and offensive masterpiece.
Anyone looking to watch A Clockwork Orange might be wanting to revisit some of Stanley Kubrik's work and might be interested in studying this film. Those who have already seen this film tend to already have strong opinions regarding this dark sci-fi movie but for me, I approached this film recently to obtain an opinion for myself and study one of the great masters of cinema.
The fact that this film was regarded as one of the most controversial films ever made (rightfully so) sparked genuine curiosity to give this flick a full viewing and while I have large issues with the film, the experience as a whole was both satisfying and a learning experience.
This story centers on "Alex" our main protagonist and his gang of hoodlums set in a not so distant, dystopian Great Britain. The beginning portion unfolds Alex's dark and twisted soul as we watch him and his gang fight, rape, and kill. When he's eventually caught, he undergoes controversial "treatment" to be cured of his dark soul.
I first appreciated the inmate concepts of this story and the type of questions the story attempted to raise to the audience. Furthermore, much of the psychological ideologies surrounding freedom, choice, good vs evil, and selfishness were extremely thought-provoking. It had a way of making me feel self-exploratory despite the character's complete inability to relate with (hopefully) any viewer.
Performances were top notch; especially from the lead: Malcom McDowell. His performance felt so authentic there's never a single moment that feels fake or forced with his dark character. As always, Stanley Kubrick directs the hell out of this. His commanding and authoritative shooting style is apparent in every frame of the picture and he does a wonderful job at sucking the viewer into this terrible world to the point of enthrallment.
While all these positives make for a great movie-going experience and when Kubrick is at the director's helm not much can go wrong, the film's biggest downfall is indeed its controversy. Disturbing subject matter in this piece is indeed vital to the essence of the story but taking off the gloves when it comes to fighting, rape, and killing (especially the rape) make this so incredibly disturbing that it's difficult to muscle through. I found that A Clockwork Orange was not only offense because of its disturbing content, it was personally offensive in so many ways. Frankly, these extremely rare and offensive movie experiences are not quite the reason I enjoy films in the first place; stories can still be thought-provoking while not morally offend and damage the viewer internally. In addition, a viewer looking to study the work of Stanley Kubrick can still experience some of cinema's greatest and transcendent experiences without feeling like their conscience has blackened.
It's understandable that not everyone feels this way; just as stated before, opinions about this film are all across the board. As time has passed however, A Clockwork Orange has stood out has one of Kubrick's finest and has been adored by die-hard fans so much its fan base has grown over the years.
The best advice to give is to see it for yourself. Much like all other Kubrick films, relying on anyone's opinion won't help one bit. Seeing it and deciding for yourself is the best course of action. That being said, despite it's strong artistic merit, I wouldn't recommend seeing it simply because of the morally offensive and sickening content that most don't appreciate. Overall, it's been the hardest one to review in a long time because it's not a simple: see it or don't see it. There's much more to this picture than that. If you do decide to see it though, be warned and well prepared. If not, that's probably just fine too.