Movie Review: Vinyl

There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to, oh sorry, wrong movie. As the first filmed “adaptation” of the novel A Clockwork Orange, Andy Warhol has taken the material and stripped it down to a skeleton missing most of the spine.

The camera is static as everyone is crammed in the frame. It’s not until a few minutes in that a voice-over realizes that there was no title sequence and proceeds to read it in the same style as the beginning of “Axxon N” from INLAND EMPIRE. It’s an unrehearsed take as the actors stumble through the lines, dance like a young YouTuber with a webcam in their bedroom, and become so detached from their performance that watching a person eating a hamburger or thirty minutes of a jar of mayo (bonus points if you get the mayo reference) becomes much more appetizing to watch or eat with a side of clockwork orange Jell-O and a glass of korova milk (I’m hungry). When the whole ordeal ends, the camera is left on for a few more minutes and we see a bizarre cast “encounter.”

Would it have been too much trouble to go over their lines a few times? Or move the camera back a few feet? Or even some motivation? Apparently so as it wouldn’t have been put on the undoubtedly indisputably flawless 1001 Movies list.

But what did this accomplish? Well, if your actors forget your lines and you have the nerve to do it in one unrehearsed take then what you see is what you get. When I work with actors, we rehearse until a rhythm is established, something lacking in Vinyl. Also, if you leave the camera running and hope for the best, it probably won’t be pretty. Is it the worst (1/10 worthy) I’ve seen? Nope but it ranks up there. My best guess about the title refers to the type of fabric used in the final encounter and the medium used for the music.

Is it art? Eye of the beholder, I guess. Is it Art? Um, I’ll get back to you on that. It’s the same as Wavelength in that it’s a one-and-done deal. It’s on YouTube but in seven parts last time I checked. As an alternative to the much more famous (and better) Kubrick version, it’s far from horrorshow. The opening shot is similar to the other adaptation but that’s about it. Think I need to undergo some Ludovico and viddy some other cinnies with some fellow droogies.

3/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection

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