J.J. Jacobs writes:
"ORANGE is a poor film
because in the end we want Alex to resume his thuggery if only
because the treatment is so dreadful and inhuman; Peckinpah is far
more ambiguous about violence, admitting some exultation in it, but
also showing us the awful consequences."
With all due respect, I disagree. If "we" want Alex cured, it is not
to resume his thuggery. The point of the book, I think, is a bit different from
Kubrick's--from Burgess's religious perspective, all humans are sinful and the
only possibility of redemption comes when they are free to choose, which
the ending that was omitted from the American edition of the novel and Kubrick's
film. Kubrick, on the other hand, typically implicates human behavior in a
pattern of violent behavior that leaves little hope for redemption--and he
implicates all of art in this as well, from commedia d'el arte to Beethoven.
For Peckinpah, you might make a case for the use of violence in some of his
films--THE WILD BUNCH especially--but in STRAW DOGS, he puts the viewer in
the rapist's position (and shows the victim desiring and loving the rape
with the timid male (Dustin Hoffman) redeeming himself and proving his manhood
only by finally resorting to the violence he had initially refused (and
loving it). Is there that much difference between STRAW DOGS and something
like DEATH WISH?
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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