A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Aka: Kellavärgiga apelsin

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Crime - Drama - Sci-Fi | 136 minutes
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Protagonist Alex is an "ultraviolent" youth in futuristic Britain. As with all luck, his eventually runs out and he's arrested and convicted of murder and rape. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental program in which convicts are programed to detest violence. If he goes through the program his sentence will be reduced and he will be back on the streets sooner than expected. But Alex's ordeals are far from over once he hits the mean streets of Britain that he had a hand in creating.

From its opening shot of Malcolm McDowell staring with evil intent directly into the camera (which pulls back to reveal him drinking a glass of milk), Stanley Kubrick's brilliant A Clockwork Orange announces itself as a completely new kind of viewing experience. The film, set in an unidentified future, overwhelms the senses with its almost comic depictions of rape and violence set to an upbeat classical and pop music score. Kubrick based his chilling masterpiece on Anthony Burgess's culture-shaking novel about a young man growing into adulthood, but unable to shake his huge problem with authority figures. The fir...
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st part of the film shows Alex (a career-defining performance by McDowell) and his "droogs" (his cohorts) indulging in what they refer to as "a little bit of the old ultraviolence." After establishing Alex and co. as unremitting psychopaths, Kubrick's movie changes tact, and shows Alex getting caught and forced to undergo controversial treatment that will make it impossible for him to commit violent acts, leading to a fascinating ending to the film.

A Clockwork Orange purposely confuses crime and punishment, cause and effect, hero and villain, irony and satire, and many other concepts, creating a truly unique work of art in the process. Its magnificent, colorful, futuristic set designs and utter determination to shock, frighten, and thoroughly entertain left audiences reeling in the '70s. Kubrick even withdrew the film from distribution in the UK, after reading newspaper reports of people dressing up as Alex and his Droogs and meting out their own brand of ultraviolence (it was subsequently rereleased after his death). One thing is for sure: No one who has seen it has ever been able to hear "Singin' in the Rain" or Beethoven again in quite the same way.
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Stanley Kubrick dissects the nature of violence in this darkly ironic, near-future satire, adapted from Anthony Burgess's novel, complete with "Nadsat" slang. Classical music-loving proto-punk Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his "Droogs" spend their nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before embarking on "a little of the old ultraviolence," such as terrorizing a writer, Mr. Alexander (Patrick Magee), and gang raping his wife (who later dies as a result). After Alex is jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady (Miriam Karlin) to death with one of her phallic sculptures, Alex submits to the Ludovico behavior modificati...
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on technique to earn his freedom; he's conditioned to abhor violence through watching gory movies, and even his adored Beethoven is turned against him. Returned to the world defenseless, Alex becomes the victim of his prior victims, with Mr. Alexander using Beethoven's Ninth to inflict the greatest pain of all. When society sees what the state has done to Alex, however, the politically expedient move is made. Casting a coldly pessimistic view on the then-future of the late '70s-early '80s, Kubrick and production designer John Barry created a world of high-tech cultural decay, mixing old details like bowler hats with bizarrely alienating "new" environments like the Milkbar. Alex's violence is horrific, yet it is an aesthetically calculated fact of his existence; his charisma makes the icily clinical Ludovico treatment seem more negatively abusive than positively therapeutic. Alex may be a sadist, but the state's autocratic control is another violent act, rather than a solution. Released in late 1971 (within weeks of Sam Peckinpah's brutally violent Straw Dogs), the film sparked considerable controversy in the U.S. with its X-rated violence; after copycat crimes in England, Kubrick withdrew the film from British distribution until after his death. Opinion was divided on the meaning of Kubrick's detached view of this shocking future, but, whether the discord drew the curious or Kubrick's scathing diagnosis spoke to the chaotic cultural moment, A Clockwork Orange became a hit. On the heels of New York Film Critics Circle awards as Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, Kubrick received Oscar nominations in all three categories.
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Critic Consensus :Disturbing and thought-provoking, A Clockwork Orange is a cold, dystopian nightmare with a very dark sense of humor.

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