I watched Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange on Saturday night. It was a really interesting film. I really hate it when people give the game away with film reviews and tell you the ending, or something important that happens so I will try hard not to do that. In fact I also don’t like reviews that make you want to watch a film that turns out to be awful. I think the point in a review is to tell people enough about the film to help them decide for themselves if they will like it.
But first, some background information. A Clockwork Orange was banned quite soon after its release. People assume that this was becasue of the violence in the film, but as usual, people are wrong. The film was actually withdrawn by Kubrick himself, who never gave the reason for doing this, although it is suspected that it is down to the number of people imitating things that are in the film.
For this reason a lot of people condem this film, when there are plenty of other films around that are just as violent, if not more so (Reservoir Dogs for example). I think maybe another mistake a lot of people make is turning off the film before they get to the end. The end is definately what makes the film worth watching. If you decide to watch this, watch it to the end.
But at the moment we are still concerned with the question, do I want to watch this film at all. Well if you can’t watch violence, the answer is no. If you like happy endings the answer is also no. If you love the government, I would also suggest that you won’t love this film. If you like a lot of action and no plot, then you might as well stop reading this now.
However if you like a film which keeps you engaged with a good story, highly stylised filming and lighting and compelling characters, then you might well like it.
Alex and his droogs use a language, called in the book, Nadsat. This is another detail which makes the film interesting to listen to as well as watch. It’s a bit like watching Lock Stock, or Snatch, where you are trying to work out what the slang means as you are watching it. Infact, go here and have a look at all the weird words.
The other really interesting thing is the music. Alex has an obsession with Beethoven and consequently there is a lot of “Ludwig Van” in the film, but there is also a lot of other music in the film as well, and the way it is used is really good. Often the music in films is kind of unobtrusive and hence unnoicable. Kubrick manages to choose music which somehow works however strange it might look, once again every similar to Reservoir Dogs (I’ll review that sometime.)
There is a lot of attention to detail in the film which really makes it stand out. The only critisicms that I have seen of it are that it looks a bit dated. In most of the film I don’t think this is true. There are a few scenes where the effects look fake – like the car scene, and Kubircks idea of what things will be like in th future is definatley dated – all in one cat suits, sleeping pods, micro cassette players and mirrors everywhere, but aside from this it just looks really good.
I’ll leave it up to you then…