Set in future Britain, A Clockwork Orange is the story of a sadistic, perverted and ultra violent teenager named Alex (Malcolm McDowell) who along with his cronies terrorized the back streets of the city and remote suburban establishments hitting on old drunkards, breaking into houses, damaging private and public property and of course raping all the women they could lay their hands on. And whatever time they still managed to spare they spent fighting rival gangs and getting high on drugs in the 'milk bar'. However, like many great leaders, one day Alex too lost favor with his grudging subordinates. And thanks to their treachery his luck finally ran out. He was arrested, tried and charged with murder.
While in prison he came to learn of a new project launched by the government aimed at reforming the prisoners by messing with their minds so that they would never again commit crime. As compensation for volunteering his 18 years sentence would be reduced to just a fortnight and good old Alex would be on the streets again, much sooner than expected.
On being released, the new Alex finds a hostile and uncompromising world waiting for him full of people whom he had once wronged and who had lied in wait to get even with him. In his compromised condition (he can no longer raise fists to fight or defend himself without feeling nauseous) homeless, penniless and hopeless, Alex sees a world which is very familiar to him but which he never expected to live — that of the victim.
What works in favor of A Clockwork Orange
The movie very effectively addresses the issue of prisoner reform alongside telling a very interesting and gripping story.
The acting is top-notch and just the way Alex says " well well well well" or "righty right" while twirling his stick is enough to send a shiver down your spine.
Music plays a very important part in this movie and the way it is used in tandem with scenes of violence is simply amazing.
My verdict on A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange is definitely a movie worth watching. It has high drama, a fast narrative and of course the brilliant acting of Malcolm McDowell (as Alex). At times the movie becomes grossly perverted and at other times almost spiritual, it portrays a total cornucopia of emotions aided by spell binding background scores. If for nothing else, then this movie should be seen just to witness how effectively background scores can be knit into the fabric of cinema.
On a different note, before I watched this movie I read a few reviews categorically claiming A Clockwork Orange to be the best film ever made. But I am rather inclined to disagree with them. Undoubtedly it is a good film, may be even a classic. But as far as I am concerned, I have seen a few films which are better than A Clockwork Orange--for me, it is pretty near the top but not quite at the apex of the pyramid.