March 25, 2023

50 Years On, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ is More Relevant Than ever before — It Perfectly Captures 2021’s Dystopian Depravity

Seeing the movie through the eye of 2021 is an mind boggling exercise – not since the film is pornography, but because the world of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ bears a less than comfortable resemblance to our own.

Considered among the most controversial movies ever, Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork of sex and violence, first released in 1971, is also one of the most prescient, showcasing the performative victimhood today rife in our culture.

Fifty years ago, the Beethoven-loving Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) donned his droog uniform of all whitened, false eyelashes (on one particular eye), a bowler head wear and prominent codpiece, plus sang and danced directly into our twisted hearts with his brutally ironic – and ironically brutal – interpretation of ‘ Singin’ in the Rain’.

Indeed, it’s been a whole five decades since  ‘ The Clockwork Orange , director Stanley Kubrick’s controversial masterpiece, has been unleashed upon the public, and to mark the anniversary they have being  heavily advertised again . Apparently, time flies when you’re busy doing all that old in-out in-out and ua-violence.

Kubrick’s highly stylized, now-iconic film, which was chock filled with sex, violence, and sex violence, shocked many – even esteemed film critic Pauline Kael notoriously lambasted the film and  called   Kubrick a “ pornographer. ”

I recently bellied up to the Korova Milk Club, put my feet up on a distractingly attractive nude design, downed some Moloko Plus (with drencrom) and re-watched the film, and learned that Kael is still egregiously wrong and that Kubrick’s vision has only gained in strength over the years.

Seeing the movie through the eyes of 2021 is an alarming physical exercise – not because the movie is pornography, but since the world of  ‘ A Clockwork Orange’   bears an uncomfortable similarity to our own.

The film is set within a dystopia that is decaying yet decadent, where every relationship and interaction is clouded by a will to energy and will to pleasure that dehumanizes everything it variations. Alex’s universe is authoritarian and cruel on both a person and institutional level, exactly where everything and everyone is seriously marinated in a corrosive meaning and ethical corruption. Problem?

Turn on the television, read a newspapers, or wade into the fetid swamp that is social media and you should experience the same ghastly, repulsive world Alex inhabited, along with only minor details getting different.

Such as violent cops, flag-waving militarists, MAGA members, Black Lives Matter, identity politics adherents, CRT proponents, or cancel culture Twitter mobs, pertaining to Alex and his droogs, cruelty isn’t a bug – from the feature, as it gets their particular blood pumping and gives their worthless lives a momentary purpose.

Another stunning similarity between the film’s planet and our own is that almost everything is performative.

Whether it be the droogs’ combat Billy Boy and his Nazi-adorned gang – which is similar to an Antifa v Proud Boys battle, where the anti-fascists are just as fascist since the fascists they fight – occurring under a proscenium mid-foot; or his infamous track and dance as he assaults the Alexander couple; or even his on-stage humiliation beneath the spell of the Ludovico technique; or his smiling, steak-eating photo-op with the minster of the interior, Alex is always executing.

And so it is with our time, where social media has morphed both the routine and the monstrous, and the personal and the political, into overall performance art.

Probably the most intriguing revelation of the re-watch was the realization that Alex’s odyssey down the bloody brick road of  ‘ A Clockwork Orange’   is a trip to the most exalted place of power in any rotting and inverted civilization: that of victim.

Alex is a sort of anti-Christ, not really in the sense that he is Satan, but rather that his struggling ultimately does not bring about any kind of personal or spiritual catharsis, instead solidifying in him the fallen nature associated with man.  

Like the apes in Kubrick’s  ‘ i b?rjan p? tv?tusentalet: A Space Odyssey’ who evolve to use bones as weapons, victimhood just becomes another tool for Alex to reap assault. When he is labelled a “ victim of the modern age, ” the wily Alex quickly recognizes that moniker as a powerful new tool and thoroughly embraces it.

This advancement doesn’t turn Alex from a barbaric beast into a beatified being, but instead makes your pet an even more monstrous predator capable of swim with a higher course of sharks – specifically the minister of the inside, who fills his gob with filet in front of a mindless press, who eat in the story like Alex really does his well-served meal.  

In our current age where victimhood dominates supreme, there are hordes of eager new Alexes yearning for this ultimate superweapon, and none of them even care the lick about Ludwig Vehicle. These self-declared victims understand to exploit their stories to achieve power, while others emulate that will manipulation and conjure victimhood where none exists to be able to elevate their social status and bludgeon their opponents. Of course , the establishment media drink up this insidious victimhood narrative like it’s Moloko Plus with vellocet.

Re-watching   ‘ A Clockwork Orange’ made it abundantly clear that a movie like this, as great as it is, could never be made in a social climate like ours.

The film is simply too bold, too brash, too brazen in its honest-yet-stylized interpretation of the foibles and failures of humanity and the society, and too unflinching in its artistic honesty and insight.

Additionally , Kubrick, despite the fact he is one of the biggest filmmakers of all-time, will be deemed too ‘ problematic’ and his politics too amorphous to pass the cancel culture test of 2021.

The film furthermore features a prodigious amount of nudity and violence, which in the oddly and performatively puritanical times, would make it a no-go for the corporate entities associated with Hollywood. That’s deeply ironic, since our country and culture is so steeped in actual pornography and real-life violence.

Thankfully   ‘ A Clockwork Orange’   did get made, and exactly what was a great film within 1971 is even greater when seen in the context associated with 2021. Do yourself a favour and go watch it, and see that Kubrick was not just a cinematic genius – he was a prophet.

We fight not because we hate what is before us, but because all of us love what is behind all of us. Adapted from Riccardo Bosi’s “ War For The World”.

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