Sunday, December 20, 2015

AFI Top 100, #46: "A Clockwork Orange" (1971)

Movie Stats:
Released 1971 (Canada & USA on the same day)
American & British, in English
Director - Stanley Kubrick
Stars - Malcolm McDowell (plenty of other people are in it but I can’t really say that any of them “starred”)

Plot Summary:
In a dystopian future Britain, follow the life and times of dangerous hoodlum Alex (McDowell).

Extreme violence; gore; some blue language; rape (of women); consensual sexy times; full, extensive female nudity, plus numerous pieces of art that showcase the female form; brief full male nudity, plus a lot of penis artwork.

Bad Stuff:
It’s really weird, like everything about it from start to finish.

It feels pretty pointless. I’m not sure what I was supposed to get out of it. It’s one of those movies that make you think the seventies were a very strange time.

Good Stuff:
McDowell is fantastic. Everyone else is just background noise.

It explored some interesting questions about the nature of criminality, how far the government should be allowed to go to curb it, and the way we treat criminals once they’ve done their time.

The Verdict:
This film is very weird, and it’s an extremely uncomfortable watch, but it’s supposed to be. My main issue with it is that, with so much shock value to distract you, it’s hard to get anything out of it other than a sense of unease. I don’t think it’s a bad film in any traditional sense. The acting is well done, the pacing is good, and, once you get used to the weird terminology the characters use, you realize that the dialogue is also quite good. At the end, however, all I could think to myself was, “Why is this considered one of the top 100 films ever? If I were to recommend it to anyone, what would I say to them about why it’s important to see?” The answer to that second question is, I don’t think I would ever recommend it to anyone but neither would I dissuade anyone from seeing it, and I would be interested to see what they thought of it once they were done. So, make of that what you will.

I give the film 3.5 stars.

Bonus Fun Fact: Late-in-the-film character Julian is played by David Prowse, aka Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films (James Earl Jones only provided the voice of the character). I had no idea that he was once a well-known bodybuilder.


Cindy M. said...

It is weird. I saw this in a film class. It left me uneasy. I think that's the whole point. I don't think I'd ever watch it again, but I can't say it was bad. Basically, I completely agree with you.

balyien said...

Well, it's nice to know I'm not alone!

Patricia said...

Won't watch this film. Will not do it.

balyien said...

This is definitely not a movie for you!