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A Clockwork Orange (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on March 16, 2013

Well, if you pay any attention to the timing of my reviews, it’s probably apparent that I didn’t watch this whole film.  I bailed after the first act (right around the shot pictured above).  I kind of had to force myself to watch it in the first place, and I just feel like it’s outlived its usefulness to me.  I’ve seen it many times, and there was a point in my life where I probably would have called it my favorite movie.  But now the little flaws (and some larger flaws) become more and more apparent to me as I get older.

I don’t really want to get into specifics, but here’s an example.  Mr. Deltoid (a broad performance by Aubrey Morris) has been casually sipping a glass of water on Alex’s parents’ nightstand.  As he downs the last gulp, he realizes that Mrs. DeLarge’s false teeth are in there and gets a silly, disgusted look on his face.  It’s probably the dumbest gag in any Kubrick film.

There’s more, and while I’m still blown away by the filmmaking technique and production design, Kubrick’s excesses diminish the more nuanced commentary of Burgess’s novel.  This sort of thing did wonders in Dr. Strangelove and later in The Shining, but here it seems to take away from the social satire rather than add to it.

I hate to sound too negative, because in a lot of ways it’s an amazing work and hopefully my rating reflects the respect (and even fondness) I still have for it.  I just don’t need to see it any more.  I could blame overfamiliarity, but that didn’t hurt my viewing of The Shining last night one bit.  Nonetheless, it should be kept in mind that this was my umpteenth time watching it.  Rating: Very Good (80)

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