Posted on March 2nd 2009, 6:06 am
I'm reserving this post for a review of "a Clockwork Orange," to which I just finished watching. I've been perusing the classics off and on with my Netflix queue and some I've liked. Some, like this film, I haven't.
To cut to the chase, I found this film to be bombastic. Throughout the first half of this film, I found myself wondering what the purpose of it was. I felt the whole first half was just a vehicle to show gratuitous violence, nudity, and brutal sex. The sheer amount of phallic imagery and naked women left me wondering what kind of a man Stanley Kubrick was. The milk shop with a machine that dispenses milk out of a female statue's breast is just one example of blatant sexual objectivity. I was stunned by the misogyny, and while I think the viewer was supposed to associate that with Alex, I attributed it more to the director.
I don't I never once felt connected to the main character, Alex. That trend continued through the film. Despite the first person perspective used to tell the story, the film felt very disconnected. I felt the film was floundering for it's own story the whole time. The message of the film finally appeared about 2/3rds of the way through, but in the end, even that was missed.
I'm still at a loss for what this film was trying to say. Was it trying to suggest that all human beings are evil? Was this supposed to be a redemtion film that failed? I do know that the final chapter of the book was omitted in the US until the mid 1980. That chapter in fact included the redemption of sorts. Or was this just supposed to be a tale of a psychopath? If so...then what was the point?
I felt that Stanley Kubrick's ego shone through throughout the film. It was comparable to watching a Quenten Tarantino film. They both think they're the most amazing filmmakers ever, and that pompousness reveals itself in their approach. Kubrick was mimicking Citizen Kane in many shots throughout the film as if to say...look at me...I one upped Orson Welles. I'm not denying the film looked pretty. In fact, I'd say the cinematography was the best part of the film.
I felt this film to be disturbing and disfunctional, like the group of friends Alex has at the beginning of the film. "Detached" would be the perfect word, which very well may have been Kubrick's goal. He's like the Stravinsky of film. The only difference is that I don't think anyone's thrown vegetables and booed a Kubrick film. Turns out I don't really appreciate the dissonant tones of Stravinsky all that much either. But, in both cases, I can respect that others do.
So, this was my first viewing of "A Clockwork Orange", to which I still have no idea why it's called such. It's also likely to be my last viewing. I have no interest in seeing it again. This film continues a trend for me. I don't really enjoy the classics all that much. I very much respect what they have done for the medium. I find this film to be influential and well done, but I'd never say it's a good film. As it was put recently, the printing press was a revolutionary invention and had an incredible influence on communication, but I'd never want to use one with all the modern tech we have today. I'll leave my thoughts at that.
Stay tuned...er...reading...for a life update in the next post.