Christmas. Anti-Advent Calendar. Here’s day seventeen…
Adapted from Anthony Burgess’ wicked 1962 novel, A Clockwork Orange was almost seamlessly exposed onto screen by Stanley Kubrick in 1971. Vocalising the malenky bit of Nadsat genius from Burgess’ gripping work, as well as visualising the disorderly sets and violence, this controversial slice of cinema is as much watchable as it is unwatchable at times.
Following four juvenile delinquents in a dimly future London, leader Alex and his droogies scour the nights in search of a bit of the old “ultraviolence”, with little to no justification for their actions. In disturbing fashion, the film is voiced through Alex as the narrator, making its ethical ambiguity as challenging as its violent imagery is penetrating.
A Clockwork Orange toys with conflicts between free will and social order, as Alex is coerced into Pavlovian therapy in a questionable process of rehabilitation for his crimes. Malcolm McDowell’s intense performance as the protagonist, asserted immediately from his unflinching stare in the opening shot, can be credited for successfully expressing this conflict as Alex crosses the lines between a culprit and casualty, enabling the audience to really make up their rassoodocks with what to make of it all.
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