A magnificently disturbing film of sex and violence and the way society views this behaviour. Seen and told through the eyes of the ‘droog’ leader Alex we find ourselves taken from dystopian shots of a futuristic city to a prison and back again. The main character of this nasty, twisted individual is a really interesting one as you do feel a sense of likeness towards him, you can’t help but like his charm and his confidence and the fact he narrates the story is a creative choice that puts you on side with him from the outset as he is telling the story for us.
Stanley Kubrick’s seemingly effortless gliding tracking shots can be found numerous times pulling into and back from characters and locations and it fits with the uneasy dread of something about to happen, it also ties in nicely with the music used throughout the film. The entire film is shot with care and it does look amazing, even messy tower block lobbies and a distant wood with a pig trough are made to look crafted to an inch of their lives. The place has an air of a London vibe but with an odd unsettling futuristic centre, even if this future does look like a more updated vision of the 1970’s, with the colours and the fashion.
The music is one of the strongest points and it has to be concerning the fact that Alex is a fan of music and Ludvig Van in particular. Beethoven’s 9th becomes a symbolic tool later on and the power of it really and disturbingly makes you feel sorry for Alex. Having classical music played over nearly constantly provided a delicate yet assuring punch of authority over everything. It fitted with the assurance of Alex and also gave a case of opposites in seeing violence on screen but hearing something normally associated as pleasant. A brilliant soundtrack of classic material. The use of electronic sounds and synthesisers fits with the future we are presented with and also lets the viewer feel another layer of unease as we hear the sounds – which would have been even more out of this world when the film was first released.
Malcolm McDowell who plays the young whippersnapper who likes the old in-out is utterly compelling and deliciously bad, mad and engaging. He takes you on a journey and you hate him, like him, feel for him. A sort of roller coaster ride as we get taken through the bigger theme of government control and what is right and wrong in terms of treatment for a sick individual. I’d commend McDowell’s performance for the conditioning section of the movie alone. The eyes being clasped open is enough to make me feel queezy and he went through with that and being humiliated on stage where he broke a couple of ribs. That’s commitment to a role or probably Kubrick’s domineering directing getting the best out of his actors. Also the moment where he spontaneously sings Singin’ in the Rain is brilliant and downright awfully evil. McDowell carries the film and also gives a voice over that isn’t unnecessary, its another way to hear the amazingly created language of this story. It all sounds other worldly yet overly British and that’s the main disturbing factor for me that Alex sounds and looks so calm, collected and intelligent, a fearful powerful character that starts off having no limits.
Aside from the middle section being a little of a lull to the film this is a feat of cinematic wonder, sure it’s dark and explicit but it needs to be to provide shock and to make the meddling government theme have any legs to stand on. A twisted orchestra filled movie with the concerning idea of state versus individual fully demonstrated through the eyes of Alex Delarge. A film of importance, vidi it now young chelloveck.