A Clockwork Orange shows us a dark underside of evil born in all of us, but set in an alternate universe not far from our own. Alex is the leader of a small group of good for nothing boys out to make mischief and menace as a way of existence. Their skewed perspectives of the world derive from the independent source of living had from lower class status and misrepresented trust in a guardian structure that should be in place. After several heinous crimes including assault and rape, Alex graduates to another level of criminal act when he unwillingly kills a woman during a break in. He is swiftly sent to prison for his negative behavior towards society as a whole and takes it upon himself to act the part of an obedient inmate in the hopes of soon being free. It’s not long before he’s made aware of a radical form of treatment that is able to “rehabilitate” prisoners quickly and get them back on the street. Seeing this as an easy way out of his punishment, he accepts the conditions and goes through a series of tests that eventually brainwash him into disgust of anything unsettling in nature. Once he’s a free man again, his situation goes from bad to worse as those from his previous life disown his existence and he is left at the hands of strangers looking to advantage from his political ordeal with the police. After a rather tortuous situation arises that makes him attempt suicide he finally has the upper hand in his own life. He’s conveyed as a pawn in the governor’s upcoming election so he agrees to play along for abolishment of his past indiscretions. His newfound freedom was heavily bought, but soon forgotten.
Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of this novel was a truly innovative attempt on his part to branch out in terms of filmmaking, The works to his credit are all innovative and ground breaking in their own ways, but to an extant become monsters of his own making as he delves further and further into each new universe. With this story already laid out for him and with the help of the creative cinematography born from the simple street like surroundings of the shooting grounds, this film is able to create an essay on the moral compass of humans without being hidden by extensive sets and props. We encounter Malcolm McDowell’s character in a sense of mystery yet quickly realize the hidden desires of anarchy usually kept at bay in an otherwise decent society. It’s freeing in the sense that a new form of self-preservation has allowed this faux existence of regulations to dominate an educated mass of youth. As the crude, yet evolved lifestyles come into light, you have to ponder the perseverance of will attempting to be cast out in disgust. As Malcolm succumbs to society’s pressures you almost feel sorry for the loss of freedom despite the fact that he truly deserved the punishment. This film is incomparable in the creation of a new world set in an uncivilized structure not farfetched to the imagination of modern society. What we can utilize from this film is the thought that, “When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man”.