Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Summary: Scientists use mind-control experiments to turn a gang leader against violence
Other Nominations: Director, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing
-The movie explores a lot of really interesting ideas in an intelligent way that you don’t see come up all that often in film. The film depicts an extreme “where society is heading” vision of the future based on the time of release, where everything revolves around sex, violence and teenage delinquency who are leading the charge with both; it does point out two things however: 1) the adults are just as culpable as the kids for this future and 2) that humans have seemingly always been obsessed violence and sex. The movie then moves on and asks a question built off of this: “is there a limit to what we should be able to do to achieve a ‘good’ society/populace or to ‘cure’ criminals”? And if we did, what would the larger implications be for the person and for society? And does brainwashing a person to be good=them being good? It also touches upon the issue of how difficult reintegration for released prisoners even if they have actually reformed. And finally by the end, we get what what I thought was maybe the most interesting observation of all-it speaks to humans half-assedly “solving” an immediate problem without thinking of the bigger implications of what they’re doing or trying to solve the bigger issue, and the “solution” often just creates another set of problems. A very intelligent movie that’s wrapped around what at first glance might look like an exploitive core.
-One other thing I wanted to point out that I found interesting: it shares a similar aspect to the next Kubrick movie we’ll be watching for this project: it somehow makes the audience feel sympathetic with a character who had previously done horrifyingly terrible things and is getting his just deserts. It speaks to how easy it is to manipulate an audience into an emotion without them really thinking about it; considering how much the film is interested in psychology and the overall tone the movie has, the director was likely well-aware of this, and is a feature not a bug.
-Considering he’s on screen for about 98% of the screen time and did a wonderful job, I’m surprised McDowell didn’t get a Best Actor nomination. As villainous as his character his, Alex Delarge is still intelligent, so you needed to find someone who’s menacing, amoral and and smart and also young enough to play the character-a tall challenge, but one he meets.
-The art direction is certainly…distinctive, but it ultimately does exactly what it needs to do make the audience fully understand what this crazy future world that is alien to us is all about. I know why it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, but it still should have been.
-I think it takes a bit longer than it needs to in the beginning-my main cut would have been the “William Tell Overture” sequence, as it feels unnecessary.
Great film that asks a lot of smart questions in an entertaining way.