And He Was Cured, All Right

Although Stanley Kubrick digresses from Anthony Burgess’ original book ending, he does an incredible job of preserving the novel’s visual language and literary style. The film, which received polarizing responses due to its controversial subject matter and depictions of violence, surprisingly does a solid job of distancing itself from the violence that lies at its core. Artistic portrayal is not an endorsement 99% of the time, and Kubrick establishes this by unfurling the narrative purely from Alex’s subjective point of view. This subjectivity is highlighted intuitively with the use of ultra-wide angle lenses, surreal imagery, and alternative use of slow and accelerated motion. While “A Clockwork Orange” delves deep into the themes of hegemonic control and surveillance, the world of the film is exclusively tinted by Alex’s warped and myopic perspective, and his evolving emotions during his dubious redemption.

In the end, Alex is tended to like a coddled child in the hospital, swarmed by government officials who wish to use him as a pawn to further their own political ends. The effects of the fall reverse the Ludovico treatment, meaning that Alex is no longer averse to violence; however, the state does not care about his moral status or violent impulses anymore, as it does not serve their narrative any longer. Instead, their acceptance of Alex is a snapshot of the moral rot that lies at the heart of this society, where complacency and hypocrisy are imperatives for societal integration. Alex, who started out as unflinchingly honest about his perversions, has now proceeded to hide them while fantasizing about these debaucheries, which he will certainly find a way to turn into reality.

But oh, he’s “cured” all right, now that he’s a pawn in a greater game of social evil.

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