Movie Review 2008 #25: A Clockwork Orange

A movie that knocked me on my a$$ the first time I saw it (enough that I rushed out to get the soundtrack), and watching it again, it still manages to do it.


McDowell plays Alex, a teenage sociopath whose nights consist of getting buzzed on pharmaceutical laced milk, assault and battery, a touch of rape, and always the “ultra violence.” His cheerfully brutal existence takes a turn for the worse when he accidentally commits a murder, and having estranged his companions, is set up by them to take the fall.
In prison, however, he gets a chance to be free…at a terrible price.
Based on the Anthony Burgess novel, the movie has unforgettable images, startling musical counterpoints (Beethoven!) and of course McDowell’s performance going for it. I don’t think “like” is the right word to describe a reaction to a movie of this power and brutality. It is similar to “liking” a deadly creature which you are engaged with, on a real level. You can’t ignore it, fail to appreciate it, respect it, and pay rapt attention to it.
A Clockwork Orange was nominated for 4 Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture, but won none. (It lost to, in all of those categories,the French Connection).
If you can stomach it, you should see it at least once.