A Clockwork Orange Movie Review by Austin R.
“There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.”
A Clockwork Orange is a simply unforgettable movie. It is narrated by, and details the adventures of, Alex, an eccentrically evil youth. His story takes place in an English city of the near future. In the beginning of the movie, we witness Alex and his band of “droogs” beat up an old man in the street, because he was drunk and singing. These young hooligans spend the night running around, committing murder, theft, and rape, tending to the “ultraviolent” nature inside of them. This show of violence drives the point, Alex is wicked, dark all the way through, he’s vicious, and one of the most enthralling characters ever witnessed on screen. However, the real substance of the film is not the gruesomeness, not even the impressive dialogue; this story really finds its center in the unusual themes and morals it explores, which is manifested by a type of aversion therapy Alex undergoes. The therapy is meant to render him a safe and mannered citizen or, “clockwork orange”, and the morality of the treatment is questioned throughout the movie.
The anti hero, Alex, is quite a character. He deceives his family every night, telling them he’s doing night jobs, acting like a perfectly innocent bright eyed youth, and listening to Ludwig Van Beethoven. He can’t keep up the charade for very long however, as he is arrested for murder after his droogs betray him. He spends a couple years in prison before being selected to test the new Ludovico technique. The Ludovico technique is a drug-assisted form of aversion therapy. Alex is forced to watch scenes of extreme violence and cruelty, while given a drug that gives him a near death experience and makes him feel very ill. This technique relies on Alex associating the sick feeling with the violence, and therefore becoming very ill whenever he attempts to perform or witness disturbing acts. Thus, a question presents itself, is moral depravity better than a morality forced to be good? The government in A Clockwork Orange thinks that stability is the better choice, even if the notion of peacefulness in Alex’s brain has to be engineered by the government. We have to ask ourselves, is the free will to choose evil important? Can a man really be good if he is forced to do so? The message I got from the movie was that the freedom to decide between good and evil is a fundamental quality of mankind. The government is obviously corrupt, but Alex and many of the people are no better; this reflects a frightening future, where safety and survival are never very sure.
This is by no means an easy movie to watch. The movie is heartless and inhumane; it portrays the creeping destruction of a society. Individual values and liberties mean nothing to the state; exemplified by a quote by the minister “The point is that it works.” On the flip side, the individuals care for nothing and no one besides themselves. Alex justifies his violence with his freedom as an individual to choose the act of cruelty, and when he chooses violence, he affirms his sense of self. This is a deranged world plagued by ego and depravity. It’s a crazy time indeed; I enjoyed every bit of it.