A CLOCKWORK ORANGE: ANNIVERSARY...
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem... but not all goes to plan.
Is it good movie?
You know, I expect to get a lot of flak for this but I really don't enjoy A Clockwork Orange very much. Don't confuse anything though, because I know it's a great movie- I just don't like watching it very much. With that said, I will am happy to review a fantastic release of a transcendent and powerful film that many truly love.
Not a lot of super-futuristic movies hold up very well when you watch them again after several years. Director Stanley Kubrick has made some bizarre films, and this one is arguably one of his best. I've got no real problems admitting that this one still holds up quite well and remains relatable and will certainly inspire discussion among those who watch it.
Malcolm McDowell truly shines in the role of Alex, the rotten leader of his gang of droogs who engage in mayhem for the pure sake of it. When the group scuffles about who the leader should be, the gang turns on him and he's sent to prison. Of course, this isn't the best place for the poor guy and he really gets the boots put to him- he's forced to endure videos that detail his crimes while being injected with a drug to help him associate horrible pain with the crimes he's committed.
As an audience, we're not supposed to simply hate Alex; his crimes are not the focus of this 'ultra violent' movie. Instead, we're supposed to realize that the true horror lies in the loss of our own ability to make moral choices. It's impossible not to feel for Alex when he's going through this treatment, despite watching him commit horrific and awful crimes on innocent people early on in the film.
There's no doubt that this movie is groundbreaking and a truly different sort of experience. This movie has been banned in places all over the world for decades and will undoubtedly shock, unsettle and prove your thought. There's a tremendous use of music here and it works. Who could ever forget the whole Singing in the Rain scene?
Although I don't love watching it, I know that it carries a real punch and undoubtedly requires multiple viewings. It is a truly challenging film that shows that the world can be a terrifying place and even the most evil may not deserve the punishment that can be subjected upon them.
If we're completely stripped of the choice between good and evil, are we even human anymore? If you haven't seen this film yet, you must. Don't wait, pick it up and find out for yourself what a risk-taking, conversation starting film truly is.
Video / Audio
Although the source material hasn't aged well, this film looks about as sharp as it can, retaining its 1.66:1 widescreen ratio and being presented in full 1080p. If you own the last release, it is the exact same video transfer, I'm told.
Audio comes in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and sounds pretty clear, although it can be pretty front heavy. Again, for what it's worth, I'm told this isn't a big improvement over the last Blu-Ray release.
First up, this comes with a 40 page digibook about the making of the film and a digital copy for those of you who dig that.
You get an Audio commentary with Malcolm McDowell and Nick Redman. This is a fantastic track as both men are animated, honest and full of tidbits. This doesn't disappoint.
Still Tickin': The Return of Clockwork Orange runs about 45 minutes long and is basically a big video essay about the making of this film, the original novel it was based on, the trouble releasing it in the UK and the impact it still has today. Comprehensive and honest.
Great Bolshy Yarblockos! Making A Clockwork Orange is about a half an hour long that repeats a lot of the previous feature, but has a lot of insight from famous filmmakers and authors who give their two sense. You also get a lot of focus on the created slang of the future, and a peek into the infighting between McDowell and Kubrick while on set.
Turning Like Clockwork is 26 minutes of more commentary on the film, hosted by McDowell. This one focuses on the trouble of release and the connection of violence and films today.
Malcolm McDowell looks back is a short 10 minute featurette that is a great sort of 'Grandpa tells us about his glory days' deal. Really classic, genuine stuff.
O Lucky Malcolm! is a feature length documentary about McDowell, running almost 90 minutes and is exhaustive. If you love Malcolm McDowell, you're going to know all about him after this is said and done.
We're not done yet, as you also get Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, which is OVER two hours long and another truly exhausting retrospective of this brilliant filmmaker's life and legacy. This is a HUGE extra and really can't be skipped over. More interesting than McDowell's because he is arguably more important.
As if that's not enough, there's a trailer too.
If you don't want to buy this film because it's too intense thats fine, but it's absolutely a comprehensive collector's edition that doesn't skip out on anything good. Highly recommended.