Movies wild as a clockwork orange, from Get Out to Nightcrawler

We don’t get movies like A clockwork orange more. The satirical crime classic of Stanley Kubrick continues to amaze audiences today with its relentless depiction of madness and debauchery, led by an unforgettable performance by Malcolm McDowell like the charismatic psychopath Alex DeLarge. Its displays of savagery and the extreme response to the rehabilitation of those who commit it are a complex and disturbing element that cements the film’s legacy as a cultural and historical landmark in the history of cinema. To put it bluntly: A clockwork orange is simply amazing and serves as a constant reminder of the power of cinematic storytelling.

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The following films pay tribute to and expand, in various ways, on Kubrick’s commentary on senseless violence and its connection to their world’s lack of empathy, and should be seen to better understand why nothing is more dangerous than the path towards the old ultra-violence. A clockwork orange is a film often imitated, but never really reproduced; but these movies come damn close to doing it.

RELATED: Every Stanley Kubrick Movie, Ranked

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Whereas born killers leans more towards Bonnie and Clyde/true romance The mood given by his romanticism, his fascination with violence and his sensationalism in the media echoes the obsession shown both in Kubrick’s film and in the Anthony Burgess novel on which it is based. Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Wilson (Juliet Lewis) found each other in horrific circumstances, and their society is in some ways responsible for the heinous murders they commit. This monument to the modern crime of Pierre Olivier is sleek and shocking, with a pair of performances that rival McDowell’s madness.


Fight Club (1999)

Technically, the first rule about this movie is don’t talk about it. For the purposes of this article, however, that is not possible. Looking back at the legacy of fight clubit’s funny how he shares both the best and the worst qualities that audiences share with movies like Clockwork Orange. While the cult status of the David Fincher masterpiece is not to be scoffed at, the controversies surrounding it have continued to spark discourse on its anti-establishment and mental health themes. While Tyler Durden (brad pitt) isn’t *completely* despicable compared to Alex, nor is he a character you’re supposed to like. The co-leader opposite Edward Norton is a walking time bomb who wants to create chaos for chaos’s sake, and while he makes valid points about consumerism and control, they don’t match the savage (and hypocritical) ways he takes to fight his society. fight club is a great film which, like clock movementcontinues to be misinterpreted for its themes and messages.


Robotcop (1987)

Speaking of movies with misconstrued legacies, it’s Robotcop time! The film by the legendary master of satire Paul Verhoeven is a good gory watch, but has more depth than one might initially expect (it’s a Verhoeven film, so that’s not much of a surprise). Aside from the emphasis on extravagant violence throughout the film, the personal struggle within Alex Murphy (Pierre Weller) grappling with what’s left of his humanity is what makes this film still powerful today. Although the concept of a Robocop is borderline cool, the center of it being a man transformed by the corporations into a mechanical crime advertisement makes him a tragic character with themes that sound less like crime. science fiction in today’s world. If you’re also looking for a movie that has an all-time villain in Kurtwood Smith‘s Boddicker, it certainly helps with that.


The House Jack Built (2018)

It would be a mistake to make a list of movies like Clockwork Orange and not include one by Lars of Trierand his latest work is no exception. The house Jack built is in parts psycho-horror, in other parts *very* dark comedy, and also a celebration for Trier itself. The movie follows Matt Dillon as the titular Jack, who commits numerous murders over the course of 12 years and attempts to explain his reasoning via a series of flashbacks. It takes a more lenient approach to the violence and the senseless arguments behind it (it’s Lars von Trier. That’s no surprise either.), but still contains enough of the cold inhumanity that Kubrick has imbued with Alex and his gang of Droogs. If this is your first time watching a von Trier film, this might not be the best place to start, but when it comes to detective films evoking the spirit of von Trier’s masterpiece Kubrick, The house Jack built makes it a worthy companion.


Diablo (2014)

While ethics in A clockwork orange are clearly displayed as defective, those of Dan Gilroy‘s standout neo-noir Somnambulist are much more blurred. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as “Lou” Bloom, a reporter obsessed with capturing violent events late into the night so he can sell them to local news stations. As we have grown accustomed to the seemingly endless amounts of media coverage of violent moments, the film challenges those beliefs by creating a commentary on capitalism and the consumer demand behind it; as if the filmmakers were telling us that the people who refuse to see these vicious acts are also the ones who cannot look away from them. Somnambulist is a memorable film with a deep look at our fascinations with real life violence, and should be seen by anyone who loves A clockwork orange.

CLIMAX (2018)

As has been said: you can’t talk about Kubrick without talking about von Trier, and you can’t talk about either without talking about Gaspar Noe. While the premise of CLIMAX is quite simple (a group of sexy French dancers go crazy drinking spiked sangria), its presentation and characters are nothing else. CLIMAX is about a lot of things, but at the heart of it is a surreal electronic display of humans rejecting their empathy in favor of pure barbarism. All that and a great soundtrack too.

Kill List (2011)

There is not much to say about kill list without giving away what it’s really about, but that’s not to say the breakout hit by Ben Wheatley not worth the detour. When a soldier (Neil Maskel) returns home after the war, he reunites with an old colleague to work as a hitman. The movie is a gritty downward spiral that only gets more disturbing as it goes. Compared to clock movement, kill list unfolds as the more serious and cynical version of a man completely desensitized by all kinds of violence.

Perfect Blue (1997)

Besides being a complete package of a horror thriller, perfect blue belongs to this list because of the director Satoshi Kon‘s flare to blur the line between what is reality and what is not. When a Japanese pop singer drops out of her band to continue performing, she begins to be followed by a vicious stalker as gruesome murders occur around her. Along with being a brutal watch and exploring themes of brain manipulation, the film also shares Kubrick’s sensibilities for shocking audiences and constantly keeping them guessing what’s going to happen next.

Trainspotting (1996)

The movie that put Danny Boyle On the map, Trainspotting is an almost dazzling display of a filthy Scottish belly. The film is less of a detective flick and more of a dark comedy, but its influences on poverty, youthful rebellion and drug addiction are quite apparent. And with a stellar set featuring the likes of Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Millerand Robert Carlyleit creates a dirty, free-form, yet unforgettable visual experience.


Get Out (2017)

Although there are many things between Clockwork Orange and Jordan Peleis seminal get out to draw comparisons, the most obvious to point out is in the film’s themes of mind control and hypnotism. Much like how doctors think they can reshape Alex’s mind to rid his criminal urges, the Armitage family thinks their lifespans can be extended by transplanting their brains into other people’s bodies. This disregard for humanity is made more apparent when you consider the comments they make to Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) on black men, as their perceived kindness is actually a veil over their fascination with them as subjects to experiment with. It should be obvious by now that get out is a modern masterpiece on many levels, and compared to another cinematic landmark in Kubrick’s epic, that feeling is only heightened.

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