Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Running Time: 136 mins
A Clockwork Orange is a British film about a future dystopian society where one young delinquent, Alex DeLarge, is head of one of the most notoriously ‘ultraviolent’ gangs that terrorises society, until his arrest and admittance to the government’s controversial new programme for reforming criminals.
This is quite simply one of the most disturbing and harrowing films you will ever see. From start to finish, it’s painfully uncomfortable to watch due to a very nasty atmosphere, however it still has to receive credit for being brilliantly inventive and very enticing to watch.
Let’s start, however, with the main atmosphere of this film. It’s not necessarily mean-spirited in any way, but its almost gratuitous depiction of extreme physical and sexual violence is often horrifying to watch, and has an extremely big impact.
What’s more is that there’s a lot of psychologically disturbing themes throughout. The concept of playing god is brought into play in Kubrick’s typically mind-bending and unsettling way, but simply the fact that the entire film revolves around a society where the morals of many have been completely destroyed is indicative of how horrible some of this film truly is.
Now, some will be able to take that nastiness well, but this really isn’t a film for the faint-hearted, and definitely one that should be approached with extreme caution, due to the fact that it is hard-hitting and has a very heavy and impressing impact on you when you come out of it.
However, the extremely unsettling power of this film is also a testament to the genius of Stanley Kubrick. This is a brilliantly written and directed film from start to finish, that is both artistically and thematically fascinating.
On the one hand, Kubrick’s inventive direction and use of very symphonic classical music makes this a brilliant piece of art to watch, and something that is on the whole pretty stunning to look at despite being set in a grungy dystopian future.
On the other hand, if you delve deeper into what is behind the story, there’s a lot to think about. It makes an excellent but brutal comment on society and morality, as well as a somewhat satirical look at government and bureaucracy, something that comes across very powerfully and clearly throughout, and is very impressive to see.
Overall, this gets a 7.8 from me, because despite its artistic and thematic intelligence, this film is at times far too disturbing and harrowing to bear, making for a largely unpleasant viewing experience that overpowers some of Kubrick’s genius.