Clockwork Orange (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/10/2000

Four out of five stars

GOOD things are said to come to those who wait! And as it’s been nearly 30 years since one of the greatest films of the spangly 70's last graced the silver screen, it’s one saying that certainly rings true.

Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange has been surrounded with so much myth and mystery since the great man himself decided to pull it from British cinemas that the media frenzy surrounding the film is in danger of detracting from the brilliance of this stylized masterpiece.

Anthony Burgess wrote Clockwork following the rape of his pregnant wife, which catastrophically caused her to loose their child. From this horrific experience the character of Alex was conceived – a hooligan living in the future adhering only to his own rules and with a love of Beethoven paralleled only with his desire (and talent) for extreme 'Ultra' violence.

After a series of ultra violent and increasingly disturbing attacks by Alex and his droogs, the anti-hero is institutionalized and subjected to the Ludovico technique, which cures his violent tendencies but renders him incapable of free will.

Burgess’ explanation for the sympathy the reader feels for Alex focused on his concerns that young hooligans and criminals committing horrendous acts needed, in turn, to be treated horrendously.

"It is better to have our streets filled with murderous young hoodlums," he said. "than to deny individual freedom of choice."

How ironic that a book, which concentrates on freedom from control, upon being made into a film by Kubrick experienced one of the biggest censorship wars of the century. Though many have experienced Clockwork on dodgy pirates, the sheer force of seeing it on the big screen is truly astounding.

Kubrick’s insistence at securing Malcolm McDowell for the role of Alex was inspired. McDowell carries the film daring you to love him as much as you want to hate him.

While looking dated in areas, despite Kubrick’s magic stylized hand, comparable only in his other work of art 2001, Clockwork has obviously played a major role in forming the views of modern day film makers. Note Alex and his droogs stomping down the side of the riverbank - virtually replicated in Tarrantino’s Reservoir Dogs!

Apart from reveling in this unique film experience check out the myriad of stars popping up – Warren Mitchell, Steven Berkoff, Dave Prowse (of green cross code fame) and a near naked Wendy Richard!

So, was it worth the wait? Definitely – ignore the hype, forget the controversy grab your droogs and have a viddy. From Burgess or Kubrick’s point of view at least then you’re allowed to make up your own mind!

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Content updated: 22/10/2017 22:10

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