Stanley Kubrick's striking visual interpretation of Anthony Burgess's famous novel
is a landmark. Malcolm McDowell delivers a clever, tongue-in-cheek performance as Alex, the leader of a quartet of droogs, a vicious group of young hoodlums who spend their nights stealing cars, fighting rival gangs, breaking into people's homes, and raping women. While other directors would simply exploit the violent elements of such a film without subtext, Kubrick maintains Burgess's dark, satirical social commentary. We watch Alex transform from a free-roaming miscreant into a convict used in a government experiment that attempts to reform criminals through an unorthodox new medical treatment. The catch, of course, is that this therapy may be nothing better than a quick cure-all for a society plagued by rampant crime. A Clockwork Orange
works on many levels--visual, social, political, and sexual--and is one of the few films that holds up under repeated viewings. Kubrick not only presents colourfully arresting images, he also stylises the film by utilising classical music (and Wendy Carlos's electronic classical score) to underscore the violent scenes, which even today are disturbing in their display of sheer nihilism. Ironically, many fans of the film have missed that point, sadly being entertained by its brutality rather than being repulsed by it. --Bryan Reesman, Amazon.com
Stanley Kubrick's controversial film triggered copycat violence on its initial release and as a result the director withdrew the film from circulation in Britain, keeping it suppressed right up to his death in 1999. The film follows sadistic punk Alex (Malcolm McDowell) as he takes his gang on a rape and murder spree, showing absolutely no mercy to any of his victims. When he is eventually captured, the authorities subject him to a series of experiments designed to rid him of his violent tendencies.