Monday, June 13, 2011

Science Fiction #4 - A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A Clockwork Orange is a Stanley Kubrick movie - one of the big ones, actually. For me when I think of Stanley Kubrick, I think of The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and then this movie. Admittedly, those are the only Stanley Kubrick movies I've ever see, but still. Stanley Kubrick is just really...Kubrick-y. You can always tell when you're watching a Stanley Kubrick movie, at least based on my somewhat limited experience. This movie is definitely a Kubrick movie. It's got weird camera angles, music that doesn't match what's going on, bright colors, that thing where people glare from under their eyebrows.

Like that. The thing about Stanley Kubrick is that I'm not sure that I actually like him. He's weird and innovative and everything, but I'm not sure whether or not I think he's too weird. I feel about the same way about this specific movie. It was definitely very bizarre, but was it too bizarre for me, or did I like it? I'm just not sure.

A Clockwork Orange takes place in some sort of futuristic dystopian Britain where teens roam the streets causing havoc. One such teen is the main character Alex Delarge, played by Malcolm McDowell, a murder/rapist/gang leader. Alex is just going along inflicting mayhem until about roughly a third into the movie, when he's arrested. In prison he's offered the chance to go free if he participates in some sort of treatment to make him a good person. He takes it, and through a combination of drugs, movies, and this thing:

Alex developes a sort of Pavlovian reaction thing to sex and violence. He becomes violently ill any time he encouners either of them. He also becomes sick whenever he hears Beethoven's ninth symphony, which is a shame because Alew loves Beethoven. Now that Alex is released into the world, he has to deal with the torment of his former friends and enemies, now that he can't defend himself. No where in the movie does it indicate why it should be called A Clockwork Orange.

The movie covers a lot of things. Violence, the issue of choice and humanity, totalitarianism, things like that. The movie's very satirical and definitely has its steak of dark comedy, and is very, very strange and very, very disturbing. I'm pretty sure I didn't even see the real version - Just the R rated one. The music in the movie is almost always classical music (Except for "Singing in the Rain," but we're not going to talk about that ever.) which is appropriate and completely inappropriate at the same time - Classical music is supposed to be a beautiful thing, and the scenes it's played over are definitely not beautiful. It's very jarring, which is exactly what it's supposed to be. The visuals in the movie are really ugly - bright colors and patterns and things, all next to each other - I'm sure it's intentional, but that doesn't make it any less ugly. It is the seventies, I guess.

Four little notes I have about this movie. Just interesting little tidbits: 1. Do you know who is in this movie? David Prowse! He's the guy in the Darth Vader suit! This is before that ! Look at hat, that minor character went on to be the body of one of the most iconic villains in American film. He looks surprisingly nonthreatening, although he is huge.

He's the guy in the glasses. 2. I don't know why anyone would choose to wear fake eyelashes all evening. I know for a fact that your eyes start watering like crazy after just a few hours. 3. I cannot understand anyone in this movie - Everyone is British. It is frustrating. 4. Malcolm McDowell is very good in this movie - he's creepy and crazy and disturbing and everything - but he has really, really blue eyes. It's weird. It almost doesn't even look right. I mean, look at that:

I'm watching this movie and I keep getting distracted by them. Do they always look like that? Is it the lighting? Did they do something post production? How come nobody else notices? To people notice on the street? Do they look like that now? I don't know! It's strange.

A Clockwork Orange is definitely a good movie, but I'm not sure if I actually ,like it. It's just really weird. I'd have to watch it again, and I'm just not sure I want to. It's very disturbing.

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