Author Topic: A Clockwork Orange  (Read 11795 times)

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Gold Trumpet

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A Clockwork Orange
« on: August 04, 2003, 10:33:59 PM »
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I recently watched A Clockwork Orange, for the first time in a while. Not only did I begin to think less of the film while watching it, but by the end, I didn't even think it was very good at all.

The main thing that stuck out to me like a sore thumb is how much the style sticks out in the story and keeps the story from achieving much and also, as style goes with time, seems very out dated now. To give an example of minimal accomplishments in story, the introduction and carry through of dissention into the gang is impromtu, heavily handed and amateurish. Nothing is of build up to it and the rest of the conflict feels like portions of a stage drama. Like skilled actors given one room and only talk to show their anger, they dramaticize their conflict in speeches and that isn't very effective because it deals with an off english speech where you are caught trying to understand instead of feel what is being said.

I understand the point that this drama isn't important because the point of the movie is to show Alex's evil and "cure" and him being brought back into society and how he deals with that. But, thing is, the movie first must be good drama first. I think Kubrick's own position is that he wanted to make a movie that acted as a simpler story, like a fable or fairy tale but give it a specific taste of horror where people allign it to something of a nightmare. Kubrick just relies on style over substance too much for this where he runs into problems of the style looking faded over time and dealing with a weaker story. Where when I was younger the movie seemed horrific, it comes as comedic now because of how weirdness there is in just introducing moments that are typical in film now. It feels Kubrick cheated himself of digging deeper for these answers and relied too easily upon style and general weirdness in story. Its just all these things put together amount to a lot of things not needed and that show their own wear and tear as time goes on.

~rougerum

Cecil

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2003, 12:49:12 AM »
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the movie is a satire, its supposed to be comedic

can you give some examples about your style over substance argument? i dont really follow

Gold Trumpet

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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2003, 12:58:50 AM »
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I understand the satire attempt, but many of the scenes that are suppose to terrify and all just come off as corny because of how pre positioned they are to following the style of the film.

Many of the scenes just involving the adventures of Alex before prison seem very undeveloped. The scene leading up to the threesome, with his walk through the store and talk to the girls, speaks much more so for the camera following him and showing how glitzy that store is and how confusing it is given he seems to have walked a great distance but really more in a circle only. The exchange between him and the girls is embarassing at trying to be even believable. The girl on the left shows no interest and seems like she is just a poor actor while the other girl only seems to be getting at anything flirt wise to be interested in Alex. Alex, though, makes the offer and they accept. The threesome scene likely exists because it was possible to actually show. Kubrick knew it couldn't work for anything more, but tried it out for that. Too bad, because the lack of anything before hand makes the scene all the more gimmickey.

Other examples follow, but too hard to go into detail on everything now. Just general attention to the style with little reason in it serving for the purpose of the story.

~rougerum

The Perineum Falcon

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2003, 01:47:58 AM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet

Many of the scenes just involving the adventures of Alex before prison seem very undeveloped. The scene leading up to the threesome, with his walk through the store and talk to the girls, speaks much more so for the camera following him and showing how glitzy that store is and how confusing it is given he seems to have walked a great distance but really more in a circle only. The exchange between him and the girls is embarassing at trying to be even believable. The girl on the left shows no interest and seems like she is just a poor actor while the other girl only seems to be getting at anything flirt wise to be interested in Alex. Alex, though, makes the offer and they accept. The threesome scene likely exists because it was possible to actually show. Kubrick knew it couldn't work for anything more, but tried it out for that. Too bad, because the lack of anything before hand makes the scene all the more gimmickey.

~rougerum


I always thought the threesome showed something obscene in a very comedic light. And in that sense, showed how detatched Alex is to morals as soceity held them at that time.
Bah, I feel like I'm spouting nonsense.
Short and Sweet:
I still love Clockwork, no matter how many times I watch it (even if it does come down to just the visual style).
We often went to the cinema, the screen would light up and we would tremble, but also, increasingly often, Madeleine and I were disappointed. The images had dated, they jittered, and Marilyn Monroe had gotten terribly old. We were sad, this wasn't the film we had dreamed of, this wasn't the total film that we all carried around inside us, this film that we would have wanted to make, or, more secretly, no doubt, that we would have wanted to live.

SoNowThen

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2003, 12:17:01 PM »
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I'm not sure that believability has ever been a concern in the mid to late Kubrick canon, has it? I don't mean logical, but rather "realistic". Like Jack Nicholson said about The Shining, Stanley got his "real" take, then he'd ask for 20 more, to try and get something more interesting. In Clockwork, I feel like every moment was interesting, and comical in the darkest possible way. Realistic and believable, no. But that has never mattered to me in a film anyway.

As to the style, GT, what do you think is outdated? I think it's fucking brilliant, and is probably still ahead of its time. No one can use the zoom like Kubrick. And speed changes. And spatterings of hand-held. What bothered you style-wise?
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

Pubrick

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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2003, 12:45:51 PM »
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Quote from: SoNowThen
What bothered you style-wise?

i think he meant in set design, which is inevitable in any live action film.

in thematic terms and how it plays with freedom of choice as a subject of the future, i think it's flawless.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

SoNowThen

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2003, 12:47:00 PM »
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The sets bothered him?
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

cowboykurtis

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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2003, 03:13:59 PM »
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gold trumpet, before responding to your post, I'm curious what film(s) you think are "good". it'll help me understand the consistancy of the ground im about to walk on: for instance; quicksand or concrete -- get what im sayin'...
...your excuses are your own...

filmcritic

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2003, 03:26:53 PM »
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I'll never understand why Roger Ebert gave "thumbs down" to "A Clockwork Orange".
"You're too kind."
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"You're too cruel."
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modage

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2003, 03:28:57 PM »
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Quote from: cowboykurtis
gold trumpet, before responding to your post, I'm curious what film(s) you think are "good". it'll help me understand the consistancy of the ground im about to walk on: for instance; quicksand or concrete -- get what im sayin'...


Gold Trumpets 5 Favorite Movies of All Time*
http://www.xixax.com/viewtopic.php?t=245

1.) 2001: A Space Odyssey
2.) 8 1/2
3.) Grave of the Fireflies
4.) Apocalypse Now
5.) L'Avventura

*revised with L'Avventura put on, and Punch-Drunk Love taken off.

also...
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Being a fan of the art of Stifler, I liked the third [American Pie]. ~rougerum
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

jokerspath

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2003, 03:33:27 PM »
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Quote from: themodernage02
Quote from: cowboykurtis
gold trumpet, before responding to your post, I'm curious what film(s) you think are "good". it'll help me understand the consistancy of the ground im about to walk on: for instance; quicksand or concrete -- get what im sayin'...


Gold Trumpets 5 Favorite Movies of All Time*
http://www.xixax.com/viewtopic.php?t=245

1.) 2001: A Space Odyssey
2.) 8 1/2
3.) Grave of the Fireflies
4.) Apocalypse Now
5.) L'Avventura

*revised with L'Avventura put on, and Punch-Drunk Love taken off.


Then again, just because those five are his favorite, doesnt' mean he necessarily thinks they're exceptionally well made movies, though they might be...

aw
THIS IS NOT AN EXIT

Ghostboy

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2003, 04:51:25 PM »
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Clockwork has an interesting mish mash of styles that I think keeps it from being truly dated. On the one hand, you have the totally obvious rear projection driving scenes, and on the other you have the quick insert shot montages that were way ahead of their time. The theatricality you mention adds to this. I don't think its amateurish at all -- I can't imagine those scenes working better any other way.

I think GT is correct in assuming that the movie is sort of a twisted fable (I think the novel is satire -- this is amplified by the last chapter -- but the movie only has elements of that -- although it definitely could be categorized as satire, I think that's too broad off an explanation; it's more a story of moral redemption in a very backwards sense, which I guess could make it a satire of normal stories of redemption, which makes me think that I may need to reconsider my approach here). But I don't think it's necessarily not supposed to be horrific. I've always felt that the deliberate humor during the violence made a very potent and conflicting combination.

The answers that you feel Kubrick cheated himself on must be to questions I didn't pick up on -- I felt that the themes of the film were dealt with fully.

Gold Trumpet

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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2003, 07:35:54 PM »
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My consensus is this: In trying to bring to life a future world that would fit the requirements of a society brought to near lawless proportions, it had to search for ways to color that society to make it believable as futuristic and violent. Where I wished Kubrick would have focused on bringing about a better story, he chose to do physical coloring of the world with wild sets, designs and a vision of inventive filmmaking to showcase that world. It does hold a position of distinct imagination, but I think the qualities it rests on aren't very good because they are far from being guranteed to last. The story has potential but is superceded by the gloss. It attempts to be a fable, but loses a lot of believability even in that structure. Though moments were suppose to be funny and amusing, too many moments of "intimidation" just fall flat on its face. Too many techniques of 70s filmmaking that are just out of date and not very effective anymore. Story makes actions effective, not just style and technique. The distinct language in trying to create a futuristic world also seems ineffective because you are just trying to decipher meaning instead of feeling impact. Better suited in literary world. Just way too many things that didn't need to be there.

And out of that top 5 list, I'd remove Apocalypse Now for sure. I love 2001, but am moving away from it. The other 3 are fine, for now. Who knows what movie I will turn on yet again, next. Actually, I'm planning to write a negative post on all the Godfather movies.

~rougerum

ono

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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2003, 08:57:58 PM »
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When I first saw this thread, I was like, "oh man, GT, don't you get sick of knocking on every movie that seems to have some sort of critical acclaim?  There's a reason Kael was considered a grump, and some of her observations weren't astute, but just plain silly.  Ditto for Kaufman."

In case you didn't know, I think ACO is brilliant.  Its style just adds to that brilliance.  Don't feel like writing an essay-length about it now, and I've only seen the film once anyway, so it's not as if I could.  I'm still waiting for that "new" Kubrick DVD collection that's been rumored to come to fruition.  But I digress.

So yes, here I was, all hating GT for dumping on yet another good movie, but then he wrote this:

Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Actually, I'm planning to write a negative post on all the Godfather movies.

And now, GT, I love you.  :kiss:  Can't wait to read it.

Pubrick

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A Clockwork Orange
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2003, 09:01:26 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Actually, I'm planning to write a negative post on all the Godfather movies.

i would support one third of that post.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

 

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