A Clockwork Orange(1971) Film Review

Good evening fellow movie viewers.

Today I'm going to be reviewing a cult classic of Stanley Kubrick's many brilliant films.

A Clockwork Orange.


The film takes place in a not so distant future of Britain, a future where the youth has become the more violent criminals of Britain.

We're introduced to the leader of one of the youth gangs in Britain, Alex, played by a young Malcolm McDowell.

Alex is the main character of the film and is also the narrator, giving us a first person perspective of the events that occur in the time we see him during the film. Alex's droogs begin to question Alex's authority and wants to perform more high yield thefts instead of petty crimes.

Alex re-establishes authority by attacking his droogs that questioned his authority. He shows them sympathy and asks his droogs about their idea of a 'high yield theft'.

His droogs tell Alex about a mansion with a "cat lady" that has all sorts of things like high quality silver, Alex sneaks into the mansion while his droogs wait at the front door. Alex is confronted by the woman of the mansion, the woman attempts to attack Alex with a bust but Alex defends himself with a phallic statue.

Alex gains the advantage and smashes the statue against the woman, prior to the encounter the woman called the police, after the encounter Alex hears the sirens and runs to the front door to tell his droogs to run. One of his droogs breaks a bottle of milk over Alex's face, leaving him bleeding and blinded.

Alex is arrested and sentenced to 14 years in prison. During his time in prison, Alex learns about an experiment that can turn you good, "cure" you of the evil nature in you.

Alex goes through the experiment by being strapped down to a chair, forced to watch violent film after violent film without being able to blink, his eyes are kept open to not look away or close his eyes during the film, this results in him being sick to any act of violence and even a song from one the films, Ludwig Van Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Second Movement.

A demonstration to show Alex is cured reveals that he becomes very ill by the thought of performing a violent act or having violence done upon him, some are amazed by the success of the experiment but some question it saying that Alex has no free will anymore due to the experiment, that now he is only forced to do good instead of choosing to be good.

Alex is released from prison to only see his old life haunt him. He wants to do good but his past deeds of violence haunt him, torturing him as he tries to come back into society.

Acting & Characters

The acting in the film is very good. The character of Alex is a very iconic character and is the most memorable character of the film.

The interesting thing is that Alex is not Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of the character Alex this is Malcolm McDowell's interpretation.

In results you have a violent protagonist that you actually care for and root for. When Alex is "cured" you don't like the fact that Alex is now this calm and innocent character, you want him to outburst and resort to his violent ways.

The character of Alex although is one that you would not like to meet in the real world, is a character that makes such an impression on you that you actually love to see his demented stares and actions throughout the time you see him being himself.

Alex is also a complex character, he may perform the most petty of crimes but he has a complex vocabulary. He enjoys Beethoven and drinks wine but he's a character that commits petty crimes.

The Question The Films Asks
The film that Mr.Kubrick creates is a film that asks the questions the idea of being evil.

Is evil simply the result of an ill mind that can be cured or is it the result of true free will? Is being good the result of free will as well or is it a way of showing that you are not thinking for yourself and simply following the crowd.

When we see Alex turn into this "cured" individual we begin to see how much free-will he truly has lost and it even sickens others and himself to see how much freedom he's lost as an individual, he's not acting good out of his free will, he's acting good in order to avoid being sick and almost being thrown into a death like trance.

He can't breathe, he can't move and he can't think on his own.

What is evil? What is good?

The Verdict

A Clockwork Orange is an experience, a film that presents itself in a dream like state but also a film that creates an evil character that the audience cheers for and wants to see be the character he truly is.

Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell creates a very memorable film, a film that must be watched by anyone who has enjoyed any other Stanley Kubrick film and a film that stands out above the rest.

I give A Clockwork Orange a 4 out of 5

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