A Clockwork Orange

All Rights Reserved
Released: 1971

Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange can be summed up in a single word: bizarre. From the style of filming to the complexity of the plot, this film finds itself somewhere between absolute brilliance and a complete mess.

This film features Kubrick’s signature atypical style of filmmaking, which is evident from the vivid erotic sets to the masterful use of the wide angle lens to distort the outer elements of the shot. Both of these techniques function to conjure a sense of unease within the audience which results in the interactions between the characters being amplified. This can be exemplified through the scene in which Alex, the narrator, brutally attacks a woman with a colossal plastic art piece that greatly resembles the male genitalia. The use of the setting and props transformed this rather mundane murder scene into an enthralling experience.

While this film, visually, is a work of art, the plot leaves the audience confused and without any sense of closure. After Alex arrives at a penitentiary for his grisly murder, he more or less volunteers himself for a “treatment” that will commute his sentence and allow him to return to this mischievous fun loving life on the outside. His treatment consists of long periods of forced film viewing of ultraviolence with the implied use of psychoactive drugs. This results in Alex becoming sick at the birth of aberrant behavior which causes him to only act in a ‘good’ manner out of self interest.

It’s difficult to ignore the Orwellian message regarding abridgement of rights by the State; however, in the final scenes of the film, when Alex has returned to his normal state, the audience is confused on which character they should invest their emotions in. Presumably, the audience should be happy that the State’s mind control program was a failure, in the public’s eyes; however, in doing so, a violent criminal was released to return to his violent ways. In the end, it would seem that this film may support the State’s agenda to a degree. This is furthered since the audience really doesn’t know or understand that much about Alex. It’s difficult to relate to a character if their motives and back story are unclear or illogical.

This film is interesting at times and presents a strong case for being a cult classic; however, it’s underlying message is cluttered and confused.

Rating: 5/10


  1. This movie really is confusing

  2. The book was really good, but I haven't seen the movie.