TV Party Tonight! #104

TV Party Tonight! #104

Thursday, 20 January 2022

A Clockwork Orange

At first, I thought this was going to be a tough review to write. When I first started getting into Kubrick’s movies, I remember really liking A Clockwork Orange but some scenes at the beginning sort of tainted my opinion of the movie. Yep, I’m talking about that scene you’re thinking about, and I really couldn’t think about A Clockwork Orange for years without thinking specifically of that scene. Going through the AFI Top 100 list, I knew I’d want to reevaluate this movie and I’m glad I did. For some reason, I enjoyed it much more 10 years later.

I think what helps when viewing A Clockwork Orange is putting scenes into context and thinking about what the director is trying to convey with them. Kubrick is, of course, a meticulous director and you can be certain he wouldn’t include scenes if they weren’t necessary. My takeaway on this second viewing is that Kubrick is trying to show us what kind of person Alex is, which is a broken individual. Right at the beginning, he’s portrayed as an unreliable narrator. He superimposes Alex’s accounts of the events as they are happening on screen to communicate that Alex is a sociopath, bored, narcissistic, selfish, and unable to emotionally connect with anyone or show any sympathy. Alex honestly thinks he’s a victim. He feels like he is owed certain things and his quest for pleasure is what fuels his actions. He is constantly manipulating everyone around him so he can get what he wants. Later, the consequences of his actions become apparent, but even though Alex can try to work outside of the system and lie and cheat through it, being robbed of the pleasure of Beethoven is when he finally understands that he can’t control it all. The message of A Clockwork Orange is a dour one: the system fails some of us, but some of us are too far gone already.

It’s a no brainer that this movie would get a remaster in 4K. This package comes with a commentary by lead Malcolm McDowell, a retrospective, a documentary on the movie, and a making-of featurette. Really a complete package for anyone who wants a deeper dive into the movie.

A Clockwork Orange is probably Kubrick’s darkest movie (and I’m comparing it to a movie where the whole world blows up), but it might also have its deepest social message. It looks gorgeous due to how it’s shot and how it’s designed, and it’s full of interesting shots and compelling scenes. It’s a classic in every way, and something every movie lover must experience at some point.

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