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Something that has always confused me about the story is this.

The "post-corrective advisor" refers to "certain friends of Alex", so he clearly knows that they are a gang and up to no good.

When the other members of their "droog gang" betray Alex by waiting outside of the cat lady's house and smash him in the face with a milk bottle (which seems like it could easily have gone very wrong or not work at all), Alex is alone arrested and sentenced to prison. In spite of them knowing about the others, they are not just free to roam the streets while Alex is in prison, but (two of them) actually get a job as cops.

This is rather bizarre to me. Would they really have hired two such obviously up-to-no-good younglings to work as policemen? Especially "Dim" seems particularly unfit.

It's like they all specifically targeted Alex. Can somebody explain this, other than "that's what the book said" or "the story for the movie needed it to happen"?

It's not like I'm living in some fantasy world where bad cops don't exist, but it just seems so odd and unrealistic. Just like Alex literally says: "I don't believe it!"

4
  • 5
    Sometimes, it is just 'narrative imperative' - the entire sequence of being beaten up by the vagrant, saved by the police, discovery they are Dim & Georgie, who then conveniently drop him back at Alexander's house… [There is an entire running joke/meme which survives to this day that to be a policeman you have to be arrogant, violent, misogynistic & racist… I wouldn't dream of commenting on that, but I do think it's a part of the allegory.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 2 at 17:40
  • IIRC the gang got up to no good largely because they were able to act without consequence - at least until there was. When things went bad, it seemed there was some opportunity for the two droogs to get away and presumably avoid any sort of indictment. From their point of view, it could have been a close call motivating them to "go straight". They couldn't be excluded from police work if they had no actual criminal record. I've only seen the movie once many years ago; although I found it a surprising twist, it didn't seem to me like a contradiction or plot hole.
    – Anthony X
    Jan 3 at 22:28
  • 6
    The government in A Clockwork Orange is fascistic; the purpose of the Ludovico technique is to release violent offenders to make room for political prisoners. Such a government would want their police officers to be violent and immoral
    – alexgbelov
    Jan 7 at 20:53
  • The only difference between a cop and a thug is the uniform
    – Candid Moe
    Jul 15 at 10:16

2 Answers 2

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It's part of the film's social criticism.

The whole film is a commentary on society at large. We see these ultraviolent hooligans stomping around and hurting everyone they come across, and that's bad. But the "real evil" (or so the movie would have you believe) is society in general that produces such monsters. We're meant to come away with the impression that the Ludovico Technique used to deprogram Alex's violent tendencies is somehow worse than the beatings, rapes, and possible murders he committed. As part of this indictment of society, we are shown that society co-opts brutal thugs like his friends to be brutal thugs on behalf of society, actually using and benefitting from those base impulses. The movie draws no distinction between random, predatory vilolence by criminals and the principled use of force by the authorities.

TL;DR - if you're looking for a sober, fair, and realistic depiction of the police, you're watching the wrong movie.

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Cops don't just get "hired". They first have to take a written test. If they pass that, they get invited to take a physical test. If they pass that, they meet with several Sergeants who ask them questions to determine if they'd make good recruits. If they pass that, they have to take a phycological test. If they pass that, they are invited to the Police Academy. At least in the US that is the process.

It's possible they had the prowess to get through the first two tests, and were good enough liars to get through the 2nd two? Or maybe they really turned their lives around after that incident at the Cat Lady's house.

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    I think it is more likely that police in that dystopian future have to be as thuggish as the gangsters so they are actually good candidates for the role. Jan 7 at 22:58
  • 1
    You are thinking from the perspective of someone living in a free country. In dictatorships, the main things required from a successful police candidate is a) being strong and b) not questioning orders.
    – Yasskier
    Jul 22 at 0:20

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