Why A Clockwork Orange is more relevant now than when it was first released | Pretty Reel

A Clockwork Orange is one of Stanley Kubrick’s most iconic and highly controversial works. At the time of its release, Hollywood was just emerging from the Hays Code era; the extreme violence, sexual perversion and its morally ambiguous protagonist made it a first of its kind. Nonetheless, A Clockwork Orange has stood the test of time to become a revered piece of cinema and a work relevant to today’s society. Here’s why A Clockwork Orange is more relevant now than when it was first released.

Morally ambiguous protagonist

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Alex DeLarge is arguably one of the most heinous anti-heroes in movie history. Thief, sexual abuser and murderer, Alex is a commentary on a corrupt youngster who will stop at nothing to maintain control of his community. And yet, audiences wonder if Alex is really a psychopath or just an impressionable youngster influenced by his surroundings. He was born into a politically disjointed society where young people are introduced to violence at an early age; perhaps he is acting through learned behavior. This is all too relevant in today’s society, where young people showcase their every move on social media, including morally wrongdoing and petty crime. Alex represents the universal concept of good versus evil that brews inside people from an early age and is one decision away from committing horrific violence.

ultra-violent society

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Droogs terrorize everyone, from children to adults to the elderly, without discrimination; Alex is part of an endless cycle of violence that extends beyond his age group and social class, for that matter. After Alex is attacked by post-conditioning droogs, he seeks refuge in the home of writer Frank Alexander, the same man he attacked years before. Alexander initially shows Alex hospitality, but his agenda quickly changes when he recognizes Alex’s identity. From drugging Alex’s meal to psychologically torturing him, Alexander is vengeful and violent in his own right and, ironically, robs Alex of his agency. This is representative of today’s society, where violence leads to a domino effect where victims themselves become aggressors while seeking justice.

A technologically oppressive system

A Clockwork Orange illustrates the oppression of society through technological advancements; in this case, the Ludovico technique was tested on Alex. After a series of hours-long explicit videos that Alex is forced to watch, he becomes intolerant of Beethoven’s symphonies and the idea of ​​sexual contact. Alex is only a guinea pig for the big project that the politicians have conceptualized with their Ludovico technique; the main purpose of the technique is to mass-condition prisoners like Alex to make room in the prisons for political activists who speak out against the government.

The Ludovico technique is not only a means of controlling the violent youth of society; it is a system intended to control any member of society seeking to disrupt or overthrow the established order. These days, social media platforms filter content from what is deemed politically correct to offensive. The same rule applies to television networks; what is reported on one channel will be presented in a contrasting light in another channel, although the events are corrected. The media will shape narratives for selfish ends.

Corrupt government

Warner Bros.

Alex’s behavior is heavily influenced by his negligent government. In a society where civilians are neglected in every way by their government, Alex’s age group lack guidance in telling right from wrong and must form their own understanding of morality and social norms. Consequently, young people become the criminals they observe throughout their daily escapades and a vicious cycle continues. The parents themselves are relegated to subordinate entities within their own household, such as Alex’s parents, who fear his mere presence and are regularly overpowered mentally and physically by Alex. In today’s world, political climates focus their attention on divisive legislatures; young people are prone to rebellion, whether through crime or other forms of escape such as drug addiction.

Subliminal messaging

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A Clockwork Orange is riddled with subliminal messages including political oppression and the removal of physical agency. Alex begins his journey by encompassing every psychopathic quality imaginable: murderous, cold-blooded, and unhinged. Nonetheless, the company’s retaliation against Alex is equally reprehensible. Alex is rendered unable to have a say in his agency; the droogs physically assault him, Mr. Alexander tortures him mentally, and even the government itself has free rein over his body and mind, first through the Ludovico Technique and finally reversing its effect in exchange for cooperation of Alex with the Ministry of the Interior. political propaganda. The subliminal message also extends to other characters; Alex’s parents have their agency violated when Alex sedates them every night; Mrs. Alexander gets her agency taken out when the droogs sexually assault her; and political agency as a whole is threatened; The main objective of the Ludovico technique is to minimize uprisings by incarcerating political activists, silencing their voices and anyone attempting to follow in their footsteps.

The subliminal messages extend to the film’s use of sexual imagery; the lair of the droogs adorned with naked mannequins; the many cases and implications of sexual assault, and the Ludovico Technique, which is a series of sexually violent content. The exhaustion of sexual content in A Clockwork Orange emulates sexual desensitization; seeing something enough, its taboo character will lose its effectiveness. The same effect applies to the film’s use of violent crimes; by its climax, Alex’s torture at the hands of Frank Alexander is only effective because it’s a new form of violence presented; physical violence has already been normalized in the film’s narrative. A Clockwork Orange is ultimately a precautionary tale of how a government equipped with cutting-edge technology can subjugate society, either through overt sexualization or violence instilled in its people.

Why A Clockwork Orange is more relevant now than when it was first released | Pretty Reel