Before I begin my review, I have decided to work on this project in a different way. Instead of going chronologically, I’ll be using a random number generator to decide for me what my next movie will be. I do this for two reasons: First of all, I stopped updating this because I was too bogged down in silent movies and it was killing my momentum. Secondly, an Alamo Drafthouse just opened up by my house and I want the chance to watch these movies on the big screen while they are available. Now back to the review……
Quick recap: Alex is a young hoodlum, who spends nights with his friends, raping and pillaging. He takes it too far one night and MURDERS A WOMAN WITH A PHALLIC PIECE OF ART. He is sent to prison and after a couple of years is chosen by the prime minister for a new kind of treatment. In one of the most recognized scenes in recent movie history, Alex is made to watch hours of violent and sexual films with his eyes stuck open until it makes him physically ill. One of the movies has the soundtrack of Beethoven, Alex’s favorite musician. After watching the film, however, he hates the sound. He is released two weeks later, unable to cope with the outside world. Even his parents are slow to welcome him back, having already rented his room out. Dejected, Alex walks outside and meets up with a man who he had previously terrorized. The man attacks him and the police arrive. Alex’s relief is short lived when he sees that the officers were two of his best friends when they were in a gang. They take Alex to the country where they beat him and hold his head under water. Having nowhere else to go, he is drawn to a house that he later realizes is one that he had terrorized earlier. The writer that lives there doesn’t recognize him right off and and kindly offers to help him recuperate at his house. While Alex is in the bath, the writer calls his friends with a plan to use him as a symbol of government corruption. As he hangs up, he hears Alex humming ‘Singing in the Rain’, and realizes that this is the same boy who tortured him and raped his wife. In an act of revenge, he locks Alex in his room and plays Beethoven loudly until he jumps out of the window to commit suicide. Alex survives though, and as he regains consciousness, seems to be back to ‘normal’. The prime minister visits him and tries to smooth things over,knowing how bad the whole scene looks to the public. He and Alex reach an agreement.
Fun(?) fact: During the scene where Alex’s eyes were pried open, Malcom McDowell scratched a cornea and was temporarily blind.
My Thoughts: When I asked my husband if this would be a movie I would want to see, he responded that it was ‘rapey and ultra-violent’. And that it was! But at the same time, I don’t see how the story could be told any other way. Alex’s character was disgusting in so many ways and yet he drew me in.
He was awful and yet I wanted him to ‘recover’, even if it meant more violence. I was especially taken aback by how funny parts of the film were. The final scene of the prime minister feeding Alex was hilarious! In the end, I was most surprised with the message of the film. This was a society that bred evilness and when it got out of hand, squashed it in the most inhumane way possible. It’s a message I’m going to have to think on.
Final review: 5/5. I’m sure I will run into movies that I will wonder how they were considered ‘classics’ in the first place, but this one is a no brainer. Go see it.
Where I watched it: at the Alamo Draft House Vintage Park. By far the BEST place to go for movies.