I will never listen to my old droog Ludwig Van the same after this real horrorshow book and film. Whether you prefer Anthony Burgess’s telling in invented British slang or you want to get blown away by Stanley Kubrick’s trippy visuals and sound, A Clockwork Orange is a story both thought provoking, disturbing, and grim but beautiful. Clockwork is the story of a young ruffian named Alex and his band of droogs who enjoy mischief and chaos in a dystopian future Britain that thankfully never came to be. In fact, Alex is king of his own little world. His droogs follow his every whim, his parents don’t ask questions why he never goes to school, and everything he does gets a slap on the wrist. In one night they beat a homeless man, steal a car, and get into a giant gang brawl with their rival Billy-Boy, and end the night with some spiked “Milkako” (milk). But Alex isn’t just rage and the ol’ ultraviolence, his greatest love is that of Beethoven. Even when his droogs seem to want a change in the group dynamic, Alex doesn’t seem to care, he merely brings them back into line. But one night, one of their escapades goes wrong, a woman dies and Alex is left alone to suffer the consequences, betrayed by his friends. In prison, serving a twenty year sentence Alex discovers a new kind of experimental government treatment for violent criminals that will get him out in a matter of weeks. It uses a mix of violent imagery and audio to subliminal discourage acts of violence, causing feelings of intense pain. But when Beethoven is part of the program, Alex comes into a dilemia. Released back into a populace he misused, beat, and molested with no way to defend himself Alex truly learns the error of his ways as everything bites him in the ass.
Both movie and book are pretty similar with only some minor changes; the book has an additional chapter as an epilogue that carries the story farther than the movie does and Alex is a tad bit younger in the book, which makes some of the horrible things he does a little more disturbing but the movie has the iconic scene of “singing in the rain”. Either way, I love them both. It’s something I think everyone should experience at least once. So until next time, I’m Torsten V, your humble narrator.