Seeing as I have four more Stanley Kubrick films to go on the list, and one of those films notwithstanding, I thought I’d make a Kubrick-a-thon out of it. First up is A Clockwork Orange, starring Malcolm McDowell as the “droog” Alex, who gets sent to prison where he volunteers for a radical therapy which changes his mind and alters his behavior for the better, or is it for the worse? Cruelly unforgiving and delightfully bleak, A Clockwork Orange is a masterpiece unlike any other masterpiece out there. It is pessimistic to a grand level opposite to that of a fault, and marks Kubrick’s foray into dystopian nightmare fuel.
The film is by and large whimsical in its absurdity, in content and language. The kooky slang used by the main characters, called Nadsat, gives the film a gleeful weirdness that transcends the screen and becomes almost Shakespearean in quality. The cinematography is simple, and brutally effective; Kubrick has a skill for blocking and shaping the image captured by the camera that is unrivaled, and it is always a pleasure to see on the screen. Even the movement of the camera itself is typical Kubrick genius. What really makes the film more than it otherwise would have been is the ever-present score, which changes and flows with the material to provide the perfect backdrop and necessary emotional stimulus to cause each scene’s beautiful nature to blossom forth.
Kubrick films are a class all their own, and even in a class all its own, A Clockwork Orange is a film apart from the rest. It’s not above absolute masterpieces like 2001, it stands alone as a wholly original and unique piece of art. This certainly qualifies as a must see before you die, although the material may set your nerves racing; but content aside, this is a truly glorious piece of artwork, one that raises the bar for what can and should be considered art.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10
P.S. It just had to be Kubrick for my 400th post. 400 reviews coming up with another one from one of my all-time favorite directors.