Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
 One thing I could never stand was to see a filthy, dirty old drunkie, howling away at the filthy songs of his fathers and going blurp blurp in between as it might be a filthy old orchestra in his stinking, rotten guts. I could never stand to see anyone like that, whatever his age might be, but more especially when he was real old like this one was.”

“Clockwork Orange’s legacy resides upon strikes of brilliance, while everyone turns a blind eye to mediocrity. Kubrick takes Alex’s treatment, scared to repeat his opening thirty minutes of controversy.”
Despite some snappy dialogue, a dash of anti- totalitarianism and a devilishly crazed Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange never seems to tie it’s loose ends, leaving the audience lost in a delirium of grandeur. A Clockwork Orange has gained quite a large following as time ticks by, like any Kubrick film, yet despite the strike of brilliance in any film of Kubrick, someone forgot the apply the polish and care. Underneath the gracious nudity and whity dialogue is chaos, a film so sure of itself that it completely misses its point.    

Alex DeLarge (according to the source) is a 15-16 year old living a life of theft, rape and ultra-violence with his ‘droogs’. After the accidental murder of a woman with a giant penis sculptor – you read right – he is sent to jail where he undergoes an experimental therapy to end crime. As you can probably tell the therapy doesn’t work perfectly (or works too perfectly) and we’re sent of an trip of misguided ideology.
This may seem like a well-structured, interesting film; however, if it were not for the first 30-40 minutes, I wouldn’t hesitate to call this film lacklustre, and essentially boring. Now before you attack me with claims of a hatred for Kubrick, I happen to adore 2001: A Space Odyssey, debatably his most boring film. Yet 2001 always had more, for every scene would sure enough merit a page upon both its technical value and philosophy. Yet the following film with our humble narrator fails to reach such potential. The greatest scenes we are given do no more than glorify violence. Opposed too much criticism, the violence was more than welcome (although tamed by today’s standards), the nudity caused a comedic effect – perhaps the film has successfully desensitized me. Yet when we strap in and prepare for all the film has – the reasoning why we’re watching ultra-violence to tune of Ludwig, but we’re given nothing.

Scenes of mediocrity begin to arise.
Malcolm McDowell’s infamous embodiment of Alex DeLarge is just brilliant. Although those who are still yet to remove the sticks lodged where the sun doesn’t shine will attack Kubrick, I will commend him for truly making the antagonist the main star. I long for the anti-hero to be the winner, the villain, who is by far more interesting than a hero preaching the same dull ideology, and in some respects, A Clockwork Orange succeeds, but at the same time trips flat on the face. Kubrick captures something so powerful and effective, and wastes it all. Kubrick captures a beautiful butterfly, yet chooses not to let it fly, nor does he pull its wings out, in true Alex sadism, he simply locks it away in a dull beige room. Alex DeLarge tears up the world slowly in stunning ways, whether we watch him beat his friends in slow motion, or indulges in a threesome in the direct opposite, ‘fast motion’ – the audience, as much as they wish to lie, sit back and indulge in the sadistic nature (from a distance of course). Yet Kubrick seems to run out of ideas, and throws our anti-hero into the slammer, where he loses all his charm and charisma. For the remainder of the film we watch our devil be stripped of his lovable malevolence, and sits in a boring, grey prison. And when he is finally freed, the plot flails around, lost in its ways.  It’s a darn shame it all ends on such a mediocre note. Kubrick gives us some of the greatest scenes to grace the screen and turns it into dullness, yet makes sure to shove some philosophy in your face, just so you remember that this film isn't completely pointless.

Kubrick brilliance.
Overall, Kubrick brings the goods, the same brilliances of 2001 with a cold, harsh dab of malevolence. However, we’re only given thirty minutes of it, and then we’re thrown into a trashy, messy and most importantly boring film. The guilty indulgence of watching such a lovable character make the world a worse place to the tune of Ludwig and Singin’ in the Rain becomes a boring preach on morals, yet it’s not Kubrick behind the camera anymore; often it feels like an imitation of Kubrick. To conclude, A Clockwork Orange’s legacy resides upon strikes of brilliance, while everyone turns a blind eye to mediocrity. Kubrick takes Alex’s treatment, scared repeat his opening thirty minutes of controversy.