A Clockwork Orange Essay

553 Words 3 Pages
A Clockwork Orange

We are first introduced to Alex (Malcolm McDowell) in the company of his posse, strangely sipping drugged milk in a freakish bar with anatomically indiscrete manikins serving as tittie-taps and tables. The ensuing scenes flash from Alex and his three droogs brutally beating an old man to a violent rape scene to a semi-chaotic gang-brawl. The story is of Alex and his love of the old ultra-violence, his act of murder, his betrayal and imprisonment, and his cure (twice).

Adapted from Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel, A Clockwork Orange is in part a response to psychological behaviorism and the age of classical conditioning. While in prison, Alex is selected for a special treatment that will cure him of his impulses to
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The juxtaposition of classical cultural icons including Beethoven’s symphonies and Pomp and Circumstance with sexual violence and crime creates a grating tension between conventionality, conformity, and chaos. Another advantage of the visual/audio media to Burgess’ work is the fluidity afforded his unique Russo-anglican dialect.

For all its artistry, however, the sad truth is that Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange to the big screen is painful to watch from beginning to end. Ultimately, I believe it fails as a film. The unfortunate consequence of Kubrick’s constant barrage of horrific scenes is that the most thoughtful, psychological, philosophical components of Burgess’ novel (that made it important enough a work to put on the big screen in the first place) are muddied and masked behind the very distracting shock value of the violence, which is, quite simply, too “in your face”. Let’s face it, the pornography is distracting. The important thematic questions having to do with free will and ethics in the age of psychological behaviorism, are present but unclear. Following his release from treatment, Alex, deprived of his ability to fight, is repeatedly victimized and beaten, and eventually driven to an attempted suicide by Beethoven’s 9th. If the film’s intent is to provoke its audiences
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