If You Haven’t Seen It, You Should…

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Welcome to the path of enlightenment. If you have chosen to click on an article titled as such then rest assured, you have chosen wisely. I will introduce you to a heavenly realm of movies in which Michael Bay’s name will have no relevance (except Bad Boys).

By the end of this article, you will have your eyes opened and consciousness expanded. Before you know it you’ll be the one saying, “You haven’t seen that? Oh you’ve got to see that!”

Let’s begin.

On a side note, if you like this movie, there’s a good chance you’re going to like many of the others I suggest but if you don’t, re-watch the movie.

Directed by Lindsay Anderson, If…. depicts a British boarding school in the late 60s with a particularly twisted administration. The film focuses on a group of rebellious students who plan a violent revolt against their repressive environment by staging school-wide war reenactments and forcefully relinquishes the disciplinary responsibilities of the ruthless prefects, unoriginally referred to as “Whips.”

Starring actor Malcolm McDowell, this absurd establishment provides an ideal backdrop for our non-conformist protagonist Mick Travis. McDowell’s character of Travis provides inspiration for his “Clockwork Orange” character Alexander DeLarge. While I won’t divulge any details, his rebellion is visceral and unbridled.

This is a movie that played an integral role in my mostly inconvenient refusal to accept the many administrations we find ourselves buried in these days. This film demonstrates this so well that it will leave you wondering, “what have you done to stick it to the man?”

Made in the height of the counterculture movement of the 60s and 70s, it stands out in its delivery of the values and messages of the era. Violence and anger replace the peaceful attitude adopted by many youths in that time. Alternating between color and black and white footage, it creates a disorienting cinematic quality. In an audio commentary of the 2007 DVD release, McDowell confirmed that the chapel scenes were filmed in black and white because it would have taken much longer to set up lighting for color filming. Anderson liked the effect it gave so much that he continued to filmed scenes in black and white to add “texture” to the film. This reminds me of Kevin Smith’s use of black and white in his debut film Clerks, which was a result of only being able to shoot inside the convenience store at night, which he worked at during the day.

Movies aren’t designed to simply reenact, but to inspire reflection. The film’s ambiguous attitude toward violence caused much controversy at that time but became a great success among the younger, counter-culture audiences who appreciated the anti-establishment message.

Watch with an open mind and preferably not in mixed company. This ain’t your girlfriend’s first choice for movie night cuddles.









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