'IF....' is both a vital document of British cultural history and a timeless satire on the rituals and mechanics of power, indoctrination and subversion. A scrupulous and compelling realism interacts with a profound and poetic surrealism and hardly a scene goes by without some subtle and wonderful quirk of characterization or imagination. Anderson's masterpiece is one of the most remarkable films in cinema history.
Many British boarding schools have destroyed many men's lives in sinister ways. Mega patriarchal structures where all forms of abuse and violence have been sugar coated with fanatic programming about morals, patriotism and leadership. This film shows magnificently how some of these men became monsters. I agree with someones' comment, the school should have been burnt at the end.
Sarcastic critique with surreal undertones of the entrenched British Establishment of the 60s which remains oddly contemporaneous. Led by a charismatic Malcolm McDowell, If... goes beyond the disturbing portrayal of a repressive public school machine to reach a much wider spectrum creating a liberating and melancholic illusion of rebellion and revenge against the system. It is its own 60s' Columbine mass shooting.
Vaguely interesting portrayal of public school life, but ultimately not a lot happens and I wasn't engaged or emotionally invested in any of the characters. I could watch McDowell glare menacingly at the camera for hours but other than being notable for McDowell's debut, there is little else of interest. Furthermore the ending is either surreal or horribly misjudged depending on your bent. Did they run out of script?
Entre onirisme adolescent et réalisme accusateur, une solide oeuvre britannique, contestataire et pessimiste, souvent envoûtante, à l'étonnante partition vocale et musicale interprétée par les fameux Troubadours du roi Baudoin ("Sanctus" extrait de "Missa Luba") et à la subversion toujours bienvenue, qui fut en fait le premier film "officiel" du prolifique Malcolm Mac Dowell... www.cinefiches.com
"Now, the fees here are at present... Which works out at about 15 guineas a week. This is no mean sum. It is the salary, for instance, of the average trainee supermarket manager. But on the other hand, it's no more than the cost... of keeping a juvenile delinquent in Borstal."
Always enjoyed this but noted on Mubi it has been censored with the scene showing Wallace in bed with and asleep with Bobby Phillips removed.Adolescrnt sexual relationships between boys attending public schools in the UK is well known & is inherent in the system unless the boys are intrusively monitored.Generally little harm is done and the phase passes.
"Of course, there's ... there's always a lunatic fringe." In a world without meaning, where can man find meaning? In power structures such as tradition, school, religion, army, honour, service? Or in violence, and death? Fantastic film about existential angst in teenage 60s. Love Anderson's surreal edge also.
Brilliant movie. Many years since I saw it, but it has always stayed with me. The deliberate and insidious cruelty of a system for training the young to rule within a hierarchical system. Too bad for those who can't accept the rule... may they find weapons.
I went an English public school just like this in the 70's, 'fagging' or treating new boys as the prefects' slaves had only ceased the previous year of my arrival, but everything else is very familiar, pity our time there didn't end the same way the film does, it was everyone's fantasy, so it's watching it is very enjoyable wish fulfilment. I could watch Malcolm Macdowall all day long anyway...