Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Clockwork Orange - Movie Review

Saw this movie in the early 1990s and figured nothing much from it. I knew it was a cult movie by Stanley Kubrick then. Saw the 1971 movie again the other day. Now I appreciate what Stanley Kubrick did to the Anthony Burgess novel.

A bunch of deviants, led by a sex and violence crazed gang leader are on a spree. First they beat up an old drunk, then knife a rival gang, then they steal a car, cripple a writer, rape his wife and then a lady artist. All this - and one group sex scene - shot is a fascinating manner by Kubrick. The gangleader is betrayed by his mates who are tired of his overbearing ways an is caught by the cops and sent to jail for fourteen years. Murder.

In jail the young man learns of a new system of reform that the government is trying and tries to get into that. He is picked and is treated - several processes for aversion therapy including showing the patient violent images constantly - thereby creating an aversion in him to all sex and violence. He is confirmed as treated as his body rejects all impulses to sex and violence. The Minister of Interior hails it as a great step forward and releases him into society - fully reformed.

But the deviant is trapped. He is not himself anymore. Kicked out of his home, bashed up by the drunks, almost drowned by cops (who are his old friends) and driven to suicide by the writer he crippled, the deviant almost dies as he jumps off trying to commit suicide - but survives. Bad press forces the Minister to come forward and seek a pact with the deviant who agrees to help him and behave as if he is reformed. But in reality the effect of his treatment wears off and he finds that he has no aversion to sex or violence after all. The film ends.

The lead star - Malcolm Macdowell - does a brilliant job. I have not seen any movie that treats such a depressing and violent theme, such a deep and profound line of thought so lightly, yet getting the point across strongly. I have not read the novel so i don't know and cannot comment on whether the movie did justice to it or not. But by itself - riveting. And for all those movies that claim they are different - see this. This is terrific stuff. But be prepared for sex and violence.

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