Saturday, 11 July 2009

DVD from my Collection: A Clockwork Orange, A Film by Stanley Kubrick

This controversial adaptation of Anthony Burgess's novel about mind control tells of Alex (Malcolm McDowell ), a teenage thug in a tawdry near future-dehumanizing and luridly presented-who is cured of his violent ways by a sadistic form of aversion therapy. It was the (arguable) glamorizing of Alex's anarchic sex and violence that provoked so much angry reaction in the media...The film is not in fact amoral, though its moral is controversial: A Clockwork Orange is a religious allegory with a Frankenstein theme-it warns humankind not to try to compete with God-but Burgess reverses the theme, showing it to be as evil to unmake a monster, by removing his free will, as to make one. ACO is an intensely visual tour de-force, deploying clinically a spectrum of powerful cinematic effects. As in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, some sequences were rendered even more disturbing by the use of music contrasting wildly with the visual content, most famously in Alex's rendition of "Singing in the Rain" while kicking in the ribs of a woman he is about to rape.

From The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls

The above entry from the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is an overall accurate description of Kubrick's film but ignores its one major flaw-its misogyny. Although the violence is over emphasised by zealous moral campaigners and the pro-censorship lobby; A Clockwork Orange includes not one but three rape sequences. Exacerbated by the absence of any major female characters and the clinical coldness of Stanley Kubrick's style, you come away with an impression of women as objects (see picture above for a literal depiction). The only woman with any 'balls' is bludgeoned to death by a giant fake penis.

Still A Clockwork Orange certainly has relevance in our era of hoodies and happy slapping, alongside the moral panics instigated by the media.

My Ten Favourite Science Fiction Films:

1: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

2: Solaris (1971)

3: 2001: A Space Odyssey

4: Blade Runner

5: Stalker

6: Quatermass and the Pit

7: Forbidden Planet

8: Dr Strangelove

9: The Incredible Shrinking Man

10: Alien

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