Analysis Of The Film A Clockwork Orange

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Adaptation is an essential part of the motion picture industry, with a majority of films based on literature and other forms of source material coming out of Hollywood every day. One of the most controversial examples of adaptation, at the time, was the great Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 dystopian drama A Clockwork Orange, based on the novel by Anthony Burgess. In a futuristic society ruled by gangs, corruption, and “ultra-violence,” psychotic teen Alex (wonderfully portrayed by Malcolm McDowell) volunteers for a government-regulated experimental treatment to rid himself of his wrongdoings after committing an act of murder. Through the film, we follow this tragic anti-hero’s journey to discover the central theme of fate - whether the government controls human order, or if there is a freedom of choice. Although the film was originally blasted by critics for its excessive use of violence and sexuality, it has since become recognized as one of the most psychologically captivating pieces in cinema, earning its place among AFI’s “100 Years...100 Movies” list. Clockwork Orange’s fascinating mise-en-scène (staging, lighting, costuming), cinematography, music selection, use of voice-over-narration, and narrative structure brilliantly establish the novel’s realistic satire of the dystopian future, making the film one of Kubrick’s most successful adaptations. Firstly, one of the most defining elements of the film is Malcolm McDowell’s voice-over-narration. Like Burgess’ use of the first person narration in the novel, Kubrick uses it here to give the audience a view through the mind of this sadist teenager who we, ironically, are able to identify with. Alex is the embodiment of the future’s youth: a teenage monster, characterized by his vicious t... ... middle of paper ... ... and imagery, with Alex placed right smack in the middle of it. This shot could very well sum up the roller-coaster ride to come; Welcome to Alex’s World, you’re in for one interesting experience. Most of the cinematography, in fact, consists of similar long takes with very limited cutting to emphasize realism. Dialogue scenes, such as the awkward bedroom interrogation scene between Alex and his flamboyantly cautious social worker, or the turning point when Alex shares his discovery of the Ludovico treatment with the Prison Champlain, feel more tense when shot in real-time. But then there are scenes of excessive violence where montages and hand held camera angles are utilized. During the final scene in the first act, when Alex fights off the Cat-lady, the fight is shot in quick cuts from a hand held/wide angle lensed camera to give the scene a thrilling encounter.
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