In this article Walter Evans argues that Stanley Kubrick’s thesis in A Clockwork Orange is the exact opposite of what moralist writers have said about it. He also discusses the film’s implications on free will while calling for reformation of society’s institutions. The writer makes a number of impressive points that help one understand the film better. First he quotes Pauline Kael, a writer for The New Yorker, who blames Kubrick and other moviemakers for creating a “new mood” for society. She states movies do not mirror reality as filmmakers claim. They desensitize us to violence and incorrectly shape our view of the world. However, the writer of the article impressively argues the opposite. Alex lives in a more violent future that Kubrick blames on failures of social institutions, not on movies shaping a “new mood.” He points out that movies are largely absent in the film. Family, school, the police, and the government are all weak in this film and can be attributed as the cause of a violent world. He points out each of these institutions failures while exonerating film. Then he goes even further by showing that film is indeed the savior of society through its use in the Ludovico technique whereby Alex is conditioned to avoid violent behavior through film and drugs. While moralists such as Kael claim that movies are negatively affecting our culture, Kubrick shows that only through extreme circumstances (forced, repeated viewing and drug effects) can movies affect our behavior. Even if normal viewing of films could modify our behavior, it would be wrong to censor it. That takes away our ability to choose. The writer also points out that art and religion would be pointless without violence and sex. The lessons of the Bible could not be taught without violence. To take away violence and sex from humans is dehumanizing.
The writer points out differences in the book and the movie. Burgess blames the scientific community for Alex’s transformation whereas Kubrick represents it as a political move. Kubrick also makes the prison Chaplain more pious, making the character more believable when he argues about an individual’s ability to choose good over evil.
Kael criticizes Kubrick for causing viewers to root for the brutal Alex. The writer, again, shows that things are not as they appear to be. We are not happy that Alex returns to violence in the end; we are pleased because he can choose evil or good.