A Clockwork Orange Screen 5 articles

A Clockwork Orange

1971

A Clockwork Orange Poster
  • It manifests on the screen as a painless, bloodless, and ultimately pointless futuristic fantasy. The first third splashes out of a wide-angle lens like a madly mod picture-spread for Look magazine where Kubrick toiled briefly long, long ago. The middle third provides a moderately engrossing indictment of B. F. Skinnerism in action. But the last third of the movie is such a complete bore that even audiences of confirmed Kubrickians have drowned out smatterings of applause with prolonged hissing.

  • Kubrick's weakest film (post-Killer's Kiss, anyway) by a country mile. Yes, it makes a provocative statement about the inherent value of freedom—but that's the problem. It's a thesis, and while the most Socratic dialogue admittedly spells out the contrary position, that doesn't make the conclusion any less of an uncharacteristically blunt hammer blow.

  • Surprised to discover that all the stuff I recalled with awe is in the first 20 minutes; so what happens in the other 120? Not a lot, it turns out, the final hour - after Alex is released - being especially dreary, and not even totally convincing thematically. Still a very striking texture, which explains why it's hard to shake; but there's not much beneath the flashy trappings.

  • If Dr. Strangelove is Stanley Kubrick on Mad Magazine, Clockwork is Stanley Kubrick on Zap! Comix, or something like that... There’s so much here that’s dispiriting, puzzling; there’s an amazing amount of bravura, too-bravura, filmmaking done in the service of a vision so narrow and monochromatic that it’s almost…hell, I don’t know what it is.

  • Burgess’s haunted memories and, at times, guilt, hung over the picture like some kind of Kubrickian bi-proxy (whose own family would be threatened because of the movie, according to Kubrick’s wife), mirroring why it’s so powerful and enduring, upsetting and exciting. Why it gives you a rush and slaps you down, and almost guiltily, lifts you back up – a brilliant, sexy, disgusting, funny, violent political satire that thrills and sickens.

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