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Clockwork Orange has style, but then what?

Updated on August 26, 2011

Try other selections by Kubrick at Amazon

A Clockwork Orange (Two-Disc Special Edition)
A Clockwork Orange (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Try it out for yourself if you don't want to take my word for it.

2001 - A Space Odyssey (Two-Disc Special Edition)
2001 - A Space Odyssey (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Another very influential Kubrick. This one about an ill fated mission to Jupiter.


Appy-polly-loggies to fans. This one just doesn't click with me.

Okay, so here's the first review I'm making in my new series of reviews: "Not Buying the Hype." With these reviews, I intend to talk about movies that have received lots of attention and are significant parts of the culture of cinema, but which I really don't see the reason for.

And for my first pick, I'm talking about Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film, "A Clockwork Orange."

(I know that, considering the setup, this series will be me bucking the trend and speaking ill of movies that others seem to like, but it's all subjective opinion anyway.)

Regarding this movie, I just have to ask: What's the big deal?

The movie follows Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a teen ruffian in future Brittain. He and his gang--his 'droogs' as the slang goes--love to ride around town in their dance belts, drinking milk and raising all kinds of h-e-double-hockey-sticks-hell. They invade homes and molest innocent citizens. You know, typical angsty teen stuff. After one of these outings goes horribly horribly wrong, Alex is sent to prison. While there, he undergoes a specialized therapy to condition him against debauchery.

I will admit that this one has some iconic images, particularly the scene of Malcolm McDowell strapped down during the Ludovico treatment. That setup has been alluded to in several movies, like Next where we see Nicolas Cage forced to watch TV news in the same way.

Now, considering the way the news is going, that may be the only way they'll be able to keep everyone's interest, but still, it's a bit much.

But, seriously. What's the big deal?

If this movie were directed by anyone other than Kubrick, and if it didn't have copious amounts of unnecessary nudity, I honestly can't say this one would have turned anyone's head.

It's competently made, to be sure. Kubrick is a genius at what he does. But I really don't see what everyone sees in this one.

Now, I say "everyone" despite the fact that, at this point, pretty much the only ones still talking about it are the real fans. Those who didn't like it or who haven't seen it tend to keep their mouths shut about it.

I will admit that it's influential and there are iconic scenes. But for the life of me, I can't understand why.

Just not buying the hype. But if you do enjoy it, then go on and enjoy it.

Personally, I give this one 4 / 10.

A Clockwork Orange contains a fair amount of violence and language, but most of the rating comes from copious nudity and the implied nature of some of the violence.


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    • The Taco Tagger profile image

      Jim Jimbo 6 years ago

      I totally agree with you. I watched the movie based off of the hype as well and my problem with the movie is that it was just so boring. The imagery wasn't too bad but it would have been better if I just didn't get so put off by the fact that it is straight up tedious to watch. I don't think it's a good movie by any means.

    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 6 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      Now, I will fully admit that this came out for a different generation. That may add a whole lot to my reaction to the movie. When this movie came out, I was still seven years away from working my way into this world. Good comments, though. I welcome both opposing and supporting viewpoints. (As long as opposing comments are kept civil.) It helps me round out my own views.

    • whatsupelsalvador profile image

      whatsupelsalvador 6 years ago from San Salvador, El Salvador

      it certainly rocked when I was 18. now not so much. but in its time it was a crazy future depiction. voted and awesomed up

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      I didn't like that movie, either. It just seemed to be missing relevance, sympathetic characters, a plot, maybe even...and those doublet thingys were just stupid!

      I think it was the times--it was shockingly violent and quite risque for movie audiences back then. Now, I don't think anyone would blink an eye, which is a sad comment on today's society.

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile image

      Carl 6 years ago

      Hmm... Well I don't agree with you, but I respect your opinion and can understand why you feel this way. You are right to not buy into the hype, and I feel like many feel the same as you about "A Clockwork Orange." Thank you for posting, and keep writing more :) Voted Up, Useful, and Interesting.