“The film is infamously (and disturbingly) well known for its graphic violence;


“The film is infamously (and disturbingly) well known for its graphic violence; if broken down into two half’s, comment on how the violence evolves from outward physicality to inward decimation (though neither is mutually exclusive).” Watch the film and write 250 words about it. Then, respond to the comment underneath. “This was my first time seeing the film, but I have been aware of how popular and controversial Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is. On a technical level, the film is gorgeous with its striking cinematography and eye catching costume and set designs. Music also had a crucial role in the film, as mentioned in Screening Space: “Beethoven, of course, was a metaphor originated not by Kubrick but by Anthony Burgess in his novel. But Kubrick does more than add a few musical flourishes to his realization of the Burgess novel. He selects other classical (and in some instances popular) pieces of music to not only emotionally heighten particular scenes, but also to provide an artistic superstructure, which results in a film form congruent with film theme” (214). And the film’s classical music juxtaposes with the graphic violent imagery found in the film. But what stood out to me from the film was this quote: “Goodness is something to be chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.” Kubrick’s science fiction film is a social tale about institutionalized brutality, human nature, and the power of choice, but it also puts us in an uncomfortable viewing, witnessing the events unfold in a bleak dystopian world that is tied to psychology and violence.
It was a difficult film for me to watch with the horrific scenes, but the film’s tone is meant to parallel the story’s themes being cold, brutal, and dystopian. We are supposed to feel a disconnect and difficulty associating with Alex. A psychopath and unreliable narrator, I would consider Alex to be one of the most tricky characters I’ve seen in cinema. He fools us in the third act, and we are left to witness that despite the “rehabilitation” and attempt to convert him, he remains the same and goes back to his old evil ways and thoughts. But the true revelation here is how the authorities accept it and are somewhat similar to Alex. To suppress his violent and sexual urges by brainwashing him, they strip away his individualism and personal agency, to the point that Alex cannot enjoy “freedom” or Beethoven anymore and therefore becomes “a clockwork.” With their aversion therapy, we witness how the government was as violent and sadistic as Alex. There is a sense of moral corruption and hypocrisy in them, wanting to just use Alex as a political tool. Just as they experiment on and manipulate Alex for their own benefit, Alex does the same to them. “Violence makes violence.”
Kubrick succeeds in creating a dystopia that does not require new technology or aliens, and he does this by exploring a world where free will is being tested and taken away but with a sinister character. This is what makes the story complex because we understand it is wrong for human liberty to be threatened and removed, but we see this being done with a character like Alex. The author of the book, Anthony Burgess writes: “Take the story as a kind of moral parable, and you won’t go far wrong. Alex is a very nasty young man, and he deserves to be punished, but to rid him of the capacity of choosing between good and evil is the sin against the Holy Ghost, for which—so we’re told—there’s no forgiveness. And although he’s nasty, he’s also very human. In other words, he’s ourselves, but a bit more so. He has the three main human attributes—love of aggression, love of language, love of beauty. But he’s young and has not yet learned the true importance of the free will he so violently delights in. In a sense he’s in Eden, and only when he falls (as he does: from a window) does he become capable of being a full human being.”
Is it right to strip away someone’s free will even if they are bad? How or can change truly occur if there is no freedom? Is “free will” or choice simply an illusion? Overall the film makes us think about these complicated questions and ideas like the treatment of conscience as a commodity, actions without consequences, and a world where choices can either be limited or unlimited. It raises questions about morality, justice, and conforming. A Clockwork Orange is not only a challenging film for audiences to watch, but it is also a challenging film for audiences to think about.” THERE SHOULD BE 2 DIFFERENT COMMENTS.

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