A Clockwork Orange (1971)
(R) 136 mins

“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.”

The first words in the film written above give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ We follow the ‘ultra’ violent tendencies of a man in the not-too-distant future. Where they put vellocet and synthemesc in their milk. Hey, whatever works.

So for the first hour of the film, we follow Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his friends trounce about the city and do anything and everything you’d expect someone who enjoys ‘ultraviolence.’ And experiencing that through the eyes and ears of director Stanley Kubrick makes it a good film. But what happens in the last hour and a half of the film which is what makes it a great film.

Alex is caught and goes to prison. There’s a new program which speeds up the sentence – to a few weeks – if the prisoner will submit to a subliminal program which affects his thought process. The film actually delves into philosophical grounds regarding what qualifies as proper choice and makes you wonder how moral various rehabilitation techniques are. And while the end of the film doesn’t really give any resolution of the subject, it is the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae of a film. Okay, that’s a pretty horrible metaphor, but you get the idea.


Oscar Nominations
Best Picture
Best Director (Stanley Kubrick)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Achievement in Film Editing