Kubrick's Ludovico Treatment - "A Clockwork Orange" Review

Updated on April 22, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

Reviewing A Clockwork Orange in 2019 is a challenge. The legendary Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece has been inspected, debated, analyzed and dissected to the last detail for the last 40 years, and with plenty of reason.

It wasn’t only very ahead of its time but still remains an amazing piece of cinema thanks to its multiple layers and its fast, entertaining and unforgettable narrative.

The protagonist is Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a young man whose life priorities are Beethoven, rapes, and physical violence. Alex is a virility reaffirmation junkie who ends up being the test subject for an experimental treatment whose purpose is to repress the violent impulses to the point of physical discomfort.

This anti-hero—who in reality is a full blown engaging villain—is undoubtedly one of the best movie characters of all time and one of the main reasons why A Clockwork Orange is a classic.

I've always been fascinated by the fact that A Clockwork Orange is labeled as a dystopia rather than mere fiction. There is no apocalypse, energy crisis, zombie invasion, or aliens.

The governmental presence (fundamental to establish this type of dystopia) is shown through something completely plausible: an experimental treatment to modify violent behaviors. It's a reality that not only may happen tomorrow but probably has already happened in different ways. This nightmare is timeless rather than dystopic.

Of course, politics is at the heart of the conflict. Though not obvious, it's easy to detect by the characters, dialects, and locations that this fictional society is declining after the economic failure of a socialist model and the arrival of a far-right-wing-fascist government.

In A Clockwork Orange, control is demonized in all its presentations, showing it as selfish entities that never really seek the welfare of their citizens.

Perhaps the only thing that A Clockwork Orange has lost over time has been the impact of its portrayal of violence. After online snuff films, Eli Roth's gore, Srđan Spasojević's sadism, or Gaspar Noé's sexual nightmares, it's clear that A Clockwork Orange's stylized violence no longer affects viewers as it did in the 70s.

But even that has worked in its favor: the themes displayed in the film continue to captivate and generate debates because, today more than ever, this film can be enjoyed with the fresher perspective of a more cynical, desensitized audience.

This opinion is shared by the same Malcolm McDowell, who has suggested that it wasn't until the 21st century that audiences saw the film properly as a black comedy.

What's Your Rating For A Clockwork Orange?

See results

From the shot angles to the chosen palette, Kubrick's genius is imprinted on several layers. That's even more evident in his decision to apply his own version of The Ludovico Treatment to us, the audience. In the same way that poor Alex DeLarge can't listen to Beethoven's Ninth without being attacked by physical pain and visions of ultra-violence, Kubrick's audiovisual decisions are so emblematic and powerful that it's impossible not to relate a harmless, positive song like Gene Kelly's "Singing in the rain" with a home invasion/rape or Rossini's William Tell Overture with a fast-motion sexual threesome.

It's the perfect final paradox in a film that precisely criticizes behaviorism.

Movie Details

Title: A Clockwork Orange

Release Year: 1971

Director(s): Stanley Kubrick

Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, a.o.

5 stars for A Clockwork Orange

© 2019 Sam Shepards


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)