A Clockwork Orange (1971) / Sci Fi-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity, violence, disturbing content, and language
Running Time: 136 min.
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick (based on the novel by Anthony Burgess)
Review published March 12, 1997
In the near future of Great Britain, a band of teenage hooligans rape and torture citizens for pleasure, with no respect for elders or authority. One day the leader of the hooligans, Alex (McDowell, Caligula), accidentally kills one of his victims, so it's off to prison he goes. He volunteers for a radical new procedure to cure his hooliganism, which works and he is rushed back into public life. Unfortunately for Alex he has made quite a few enemies from his thug days, and he seems to encounter all of them, and they aren't as forgiving.
About as dark as satires get, this is another classic by Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, Spartacus), with shocking images and intense acts of sex and violence. McDowell is outstanding in a very trying role, and the rest of the cast is perfection. Lots of memorable costumes and sets, this is a work of great care and intelligence that will put off many who don't recognize it as a satire. Many themes run rampant, such as how to cure society of hooliganism, if a person is good if he does good things against his will, and whether or not such behavioral treatment is in and of itself morally bad. A complex piece of art that can be studied endlessly, yet enjoyed as a parable of the moral decay in both the minds of young people as well as the correctional means used upon them.
©1997 Vince Leo