A Clockwork Orange

The Top 63 Marathon, part 17

Data
Title: A Clockwork Orange
Year: 1971
Length: 136 minutes
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writer: Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by Anthony Burgess
Starring: Malcolm McDowell
Music: Wendy Carlos (and non-original music)
Distinctions: Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing; currently #48 on the IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: the government “cures” a violent teenager with conditioning
How I saw it: on video several times, most recently yesterday (rented from Netflix)
Concept: Great.
Story: Good.
Characters: Terrible. Is Alex supposed to be the way he is because… what, because he chooses to be? I realize psychology has come a long way since the sixties, but how horribly misanthropic do you have to be to accept that?
Dialog: Great.
Pacing: Good.
Cinematography: Great.
Special effects/design: Indifferent. Technically, great. Creatively, ridiculous.
Acting: Indifferent. Everyone’s so over the top, it’s more like they’re making public announcements than playing characters.
Music: Great.
Subjective Rating: 6/10 (Okay). It’s not exactly what one might call subtle. Things are so big and cartoonish, it plays like social satire rather than the serious sci-fi analysis of christian morality that it should have been. I used to think it was a great movie, but watching it yesterday (for the first time in about a decade) it just seemed silly and somewhat distasteful – not distasteful because of the violence, mind you, but mostly because of the visual style. I usually love Kubrick’s visuals, but it didn’t work for me this time. It doesn’t fit this material; it glamorizes when it should be dissecting. Or maybe I’m just experiencing Kubrick overload from seeing three of his movies in the span of a week.
Objective Rating: 2.8/4 (Good).

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