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I have seen The Clockwork Orange many times, but when I saw it on the list I was excited to see it again let alone to watch it on Halloween… Considered by many to be one of, if not the best works by Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, and Spartacus), A Clockwork Orange is a movie adaption of the book of the same name by Anthony Burgess (also known as the writer of the Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson TV series). The story follows an “ultra-violent” teen named Alex (played amazingly by Malcolm McDowell) and his assorted experiences with the UK government and penitentiary system.
The filming and score make an odd yet brilliant overlay to the story. Often times in direct opposition to what the scene calls for, the music sets the table for the overriding theme of the movie – namely the consequences of playing with the mind. At the same time, the connection between music and plot serve as one of the best examples of a technique started in Opera and now often seen in movies and cartoons. The Leitmotif (song or object that becomes synonymous with a character in order to aid in storytelling) of Alex is Beethoven’s 9th symphony and the song also becomes part of the plot and again part of the twist that people still argue about.
The intertwining of a small cast of characters in a rather complex story is also done very well. The movie is almost completely focused on Alex but along the way we get to see how society changes people at nearly the same pace as the medical profession was hoping to “fix” Alex. By the end this irony becomes so obvious that you can’t help but smile, even though you know that Alex is a murder with no conscience and was set free by the legalities of paperwork and politics. At the same time an innocent victim is “taken away” and at least two people are dead as a direct result of Alex’s youth and violence.
There are few movies that are so completely strange yet so compelling in their story that you feel completely confused yet satisfied by the ending. A clockwork Orange is among the hand full of movies that I never get tired of watching and still pick up on little things that I didn’t notice in previous viewings. I do warn you however that the movie is rather explicit in its portrayal of violence and sex. It originally received a rating of “x” and still is not something that young people or easily offended people should watch. The story however is so amazingly told that even with the often hard to understand slang of 1970′s Queen’s English, I highly suggest to anyone that has not seen the movie.
Movies with a mind-bending plot and a great look into crazy mental issues: