Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange
I should start this review by saying I’m not a fan of Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange, which was first published in 1962. I first encountered it as an impressionable seventeen year old at college (this experience seems to be a very common rites of passage, at least in the UK) and I found it to be a reactionary and highly conservative work of Orwellian propaganda. Beneath the layers of linguistic game playing (his use of slang language for the delinquent gang is more irritating than anything else) there beats a right wing heart. This element never totally leaves Stanley Kubrick’s screenplay, especially in the camera’s adoration of the narcissistic fascist pretensions of the films anti-hero Alex. The politics of the film are more ambiguous than the novel though, but both share an interest in stylistic radicalism. In both film and book this helps to mask the socio/political intensions of both authors. However the synergy between Kubrick’s visual and aural experimentation provides a resonance that makes certain set piece sequences far more troubling than anything that appears in the novel.
© Shaun Anderson 2010