A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Note - unlike some other book to film adaptations by Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange's storyline remains almost
identical to that of Burgess's book. Therefore, althoughI mainly refer to Kubrick in this review as the creator of the
film's themes, almost all of my observations can equally be attributed to Anthony Burgess. It is also important to note
that Burgessapparently wrote Clockwork in a frenzied rush as he thought that his life was about to be cut short by a
medical condition. Why he chose this story as a would-be deathbed tale shows just how importanthe considered the
themes to be.
A clockwork orange is possibly the most intelligent and blatantly honest study of violence ever to hit the screen. The
basic premise of the film seems to be thatalthough man's capacity for violence can manifest in the most horrendous of
behaviors - rape, torture, murder, to name a few - it nevertheless is an essential part of his survival mechanism. Tocompletely eradicate a man's capacity for violence would leave him, and his family, at the tender mercies of the
environment, his neighbors and even his government.
Alex DeLarge's contradictory nature inthis film illustrates the point. He loves and respects classical music, a trait normally found in upper class "respectable" folk, yet engages routinely in rape, muggings, fighting and whateverantisocial opportunities present themselves.
One of the common criticisms of this films narrative is that the main character's tendency toward violence is defended
as a civil liberty - as if Alex's freedomto express himself as an individual is more important than the pain and
suffering his victims endure.
The difficulty with analyzing Clockwork's themes is that the violence is so brutal andundisguised it makes us want to turn away from the screen and deny its existence. Rather than switch off the film it is tempting for audiences to label Alex as evil, barbaric, inhuman, psychopathic ... any...