I'm a bit confused by the sequence of events when Alex returns to Mr Alexander's house (after his release from prison).

Initially, it is clear that Mr Alexander does not recognise Alex as being responsible for the break-in at the start of the film, but recognises him only from the newspaper and wants to use him as a pawn for political purposes. Mr Alexander then makes a phone call, presumably to the man and woman who later arrive and question Alex. It's only after the phone call that Mr Alexander hears Alex's rendition of "Singing In The Rain", and is visibly disturbed (implying that at this point, he recognises Alex). Mr Alexander even says to Alex that he "phoned some friends while you (Alex) were having your bath", implying there was a single phone call.

Later on, the man and woman arrive and start questioning Alex. However, they don't act surprised when Alex passes out from the drugged wine. How can this be the case? They didn't know who Alex really was when Mr Alexander called them (nor did Mr Alexander), and his invitation at the time was sincere. So there must have been a second phone call from Mr Alexander to his colleagues, informing them of his revelation, and new plan to drug and torture Alex, with their assistance.

This seems like a glaring omission to me, and makes for a very confusing scene. Is there something I'm misunderstanding?


1 Answer 1


It's a little ambiguous, but my understanding was that their original plan was to use Alex as an expendable means to an end in a political stunt designed to damage the government by making their touted miracle cure for crime appear unacceptable and worse than the prisons it was supposed to replace. The guests therefore assumed Alex's drugging was part of this original plan, to help them set up their stunt.

The original plan was kept mysterious, but Mr Alexander was shown to be conspiratorial from before his revelation. From the script:

Mr. Alexander is hunched over the phone, talking in hoarse whipsers. The door to the bathroom is right behind him. While he speaks Mr. Alexander throws nervous glances over his shoulder.

In the phone call, he describes Alex in an arguably de-humanizing way:

I tell you, sir, they have turned this young man into something other than a human being. He has no power of choice any more. ... He can be the most potent weapon imaginable to ensure that the Government is not returned at the next election.

...and he ends with what seems to be an "ends justify the means" argument for some kind of questionable act designed to manipulate public opinion:

The tradition of liberty means all. The common people will let it go! Oh, yes – they will sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be led, sir, driven... pushed!!!

It's also notable that Mr Alexander is deferential to the two guests: he always refers to the man as "sir" and seems very eager to impress, while they are much more business-like, and refer to him much more casually as "Frank". The impression I got was that Mr Alexander was a lower-ranking member of this political faction and had seen an opportunity to impress the high-ups. It didn't seem like the kind of dynamic where these two would drop everything simply to help Mr Alexander get his revenge. They were here to get something done.

[Alex] pitches forward, face into the plate of spaghetti.

RUBINSTEIN: Well done, Frank. Julian, get the car, will you please?

It's left ambiguous in the film (I don't remember how it's depicted in the novel), but the impression I got was that the plan itself didn't really change after Mr Alexander's revelation. They had planned to dramatically maximise Alex's suffering (to more sensationally shock public opinion), and the only change from adding revenge to the equation was that Mr Alexander did so gleefully.

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