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A Clockwork Orange

Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven. 

Year: 1971 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (Wide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Stanley Kubrick 
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates  

Being the adventures of a young man whose principle interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven.

Blasting on to the big screen in 1971, Kubrick's controversial "A Clockwork Orange" caused an uproar from day one. Based on the excellent Anthony Burgess novel, the film adapts the story and themes well, a clever social satire of our world still relevant today. The uncompromising scenes of violence were too much for the British public of the seventies; under intense pressure Kubrick pulled his own creation. After the sad death of the filmmaker last year, 29 years since the initial release, we finally get the chance to see what all the fuss was about.

In true Kubrick style the opening shot establishes the menacing eerie tone of the film. Gradually our 'hero' Alex (McDowell) and his gang of droogs (friends) are revealed relaxing in the Korova milkbar, before a night of the old ultra violence. Thus begins the gangs adventures of violent beatings, theft and culminating with the infamous "Singin' In The Rain" scene, which would definitely have Gene Kelly spinning in his grave! After being arrested and imprisoned, Alex becomes a guinea-pig for a new "rehabilitation" procedure, which will remove his ability to be violent, sexual and listen to his biggest love Beethoven. Once back in society it becomes apparent the conditioning is not as ideal as thought, leaving Alex with no hope of defending himself from a vengeful world. The film suggests that being unable to be bad is not the same as being good and questions the right to curb an individual's free will.

This film is disorientating, full of ideas demanding to be explored properly. By presenting the rape and beatings in a contradicting almost humorous environment the audience is forced to decide the morality of the scenes themselves rather than with the usual film conditioning, echoing the story's main theme. McDowell puts up an excellent performance, supported by a fine British cast, but Kubrick steals the show with his challenging direction and stunning cinematography.

The scenes of violence are not mindless but are very graphic so the film will not be to everyone's taste. Anyone who enjoys thought provoking cinema should definitely go and see this, better still go as a group, it will certainly provide lively discussion. "A Clockwork Orange" - hardly light viewing, but you will be rewarded with experiencing a defining moment in cinema.


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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Summer Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Summer Term (35mm)
2016/2017 Autumn Term (digital)