Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of novel of same name by Anthony Burgess is a neo Shakespearean play with pompous dialogues spitted out from the vicious character of Alex (Malcolm McDowell). He is a teen with a taste for mob violence and classy ears for Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony which would later turn to be his weapon of death. With a lovely home environment and parents naïve enough to believe he is sick for bunking schools, nights are his pleasure periods. Leading his team of young sociopaths, he beats up homeless old man, wars against rival clan, rapes and sweetly drinks the milk potion in a bar with an art galore to repel and appreciate simultaneously on its interior design. It is right away known that Alex is an unsympathetic and unbelievably psycho-chaosed teen when the camera fixes on his face with those eyes of hypnotic deviousness and pans away to his whole gang.
In circle of his arrogance and ego, his buddies sabotage to get him caught while he bludgeons a lady in a health farm. He goes to prison for murder and after two years of dipping wicked smiles to accept religion as his trump card for escape; he lands in the hands of an experiment. It is a cruel experiment which makes him watch violent sexual films with a drug shoot up. His eye lids are tied up so that he cannot shut it away. So whenever he is on the verge of violence or sexual aggression, he goes into the sickness which would drive him to surrender and thereby making him “good”. How this is going to affect his rejoining with the real world? Whatever it might be, it would be interesting to see.
What the film does is drive us away using its emotional vacuum. Not because of Alex’s unmerciful acts but by the other characters. If only there is a clear indication of some goodness in the film, it would be his parents. But their expressions are so mechanical that we indeed wonder whether that is one reason for this boy’s social insolence. Amongst the moody and misty tints of layered chaos, it loses us as soon as the face of Alex reeks out such immense force of brutality against the order of existence to detach that string of expression which keeps a viewer to the screens.
“A Clockwork Orange” despite is a daring exhibition of an arduous artists uncompromising skill. Kubrick places the elements of sexuality in a raw form which spats up on the screen. It has a lyrical arrogance to it which perplexes us. Anything stranger and especially sexual is an alarm bell for reclusion and rejection instantly. That does not make this maker to stop it. He dares the viewer as Alex to look into these provocations and digs the introspection for a wild ride.
I neither love nor hate “A Clockwork Orange”. It is one of those films which baffles you for words and has a story telling in solidarity of images and expressions powerful yet pressing. It picks up the pressure points of delicacy with an iron force and rips it from the veins, except there is no reality but a visual visceral jitter in brains and skins. Whatever said on its fierce nature of story telling in 1971 which does not loses its property after thirty seven years is a film to shake the balance, if there were any. But as any film which tries to be anti-violence becomes the most violent films of those times and that catching up on this film is not a shocker. Then again Kubrick does not intend as anti-violence but a simple dissection of human flexibility and rigidness to the nature of choices and behaviour. While I might not like the film, it creates a respect. Women will be offended, men will be ashamed but the back bone of the film is the human attitude which has the capability to be changed, only by him/her.