Always the keen-eyed social agitator, Stanley Kubrick found in the dystopian fantasies of novelist Anthony Burgess material akin to his own bleak view of the world. In his corrosive film version of A Clockwork Orange (1971), the director let out all the stops -- dramatic, visual and satirical. This is the picaresque tale of young Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a drugged, Beethoven-obsessed street punk who leads his leering gang of futuristic "droogs" on nasty crime sprees until he is nabbed by the authorities and subjected to a harrowing experiment in behavior modification no less cruel than his own acts. Three decades after the film's release, Kubrick's view of contemporary violence remains powerful (and frighteningly prescient), and Clockwork's famously disturbing set pieces -- Alex torturing an elderly writer to the dulcet strains of "Singin' in the Rain," his humiliation before an auditorium full of scientists, and so on -- look as vivid today as they did during the Nixon administration. Kubrick's ear for Burgess's version of Newspeak -- part Russian, part London street slang -- is pitch-perfect, and his soulless headbangers remain incredibly vivid. It's a film that quickly gets inside your "gulliver" and stays there. With Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri and James Marcus. A Clockwork Orange screens Saturday, August 23, in the Midnights at the Mayan series at Landmark's Mayan Theater, 110 Broadway. For more information, call 303-744-6796.
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