A Clockwork Orange

Great Britain/USA 1971. Dir: Stanley Kubrick. 136 min. DCP

Stanley Kubrick’s ultra-influential (and ultra-controversial) follow-up to 2001: A Space Odyssey was another masterful, future-set thought experiment that pulled no punches in its artistic resolve — much to the chagrin of finger-wagging moralists everywhere. A dystopian tomorrow tale adapted from Anthony Burgess’s notorious 1962 novel, A Clockwork Orange adopts the viewpoint of Ludwig van-loving, sociopathic teen protagonist/narrator Alex (Malcolm McDowell, Kubrick’s only choice for the role) as he brutally robs, rapes, and murders with his gang of doped-up “droogs” in futuristic London. Condemned by some for its perceived glorification of violence —Kubrick himself asked to have the film pulled from U.K. distribution after a rash of alleged copycat crimes — it still received four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Toshio Matsumoto’s groundbreaking Funeral Parade of Roses (also screening this week) is an acknowledged and unmistakable inspiration. “A brilliant and dangerous work” (Vincent Canby, New York Times).


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REVIEWS

“A brilliant nightmare … Uncomfortably proximate, disturbingly plausible.”

Variety | full review

“A triumph of style … A crucial British film of its period, and a key to our larger understanding of Kubrick himself.”

Guardian | full review