ATLAS SHRUGGED PART 1 Movie Review
Finally fans of the Ayn Rand novel ATLAS SHRUGGED get to see this novel on the big screen. It’s been a rough and rocky ride to get this book to the screen, fans have been through several false starts – and we even survived rumors of a Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie casting scare (I thank the heavens that this didn’t come true).
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 hit theaters on Friday, and as an AVID, AVID fan of the novel, I am pleased to report that it was AMAZING. Atlas Shrugged was made on a low budget, without a huge production company to back it. It was made by people who NEEDED to see this movie be made, and who created their own production company called “The Strike Productions, Inc.” to do so.
It will be hard for me to describe the first third of Atlas Shrugged concisely, but I’ll give it a whirl.
Set in the not so distant future (2016 to be exact), the world has fallen apart. Government is taking control of everything that they can get their hands on, the economy has completely collapsed, gas prices are at $37 per gallon, and railroads have become the main source of transportation.
Taggart Transcontinental Railroad is the largest railway, with James Taggart at the helm. While Jim may act as president of the company, it is his sister, Dagny, who is the one ACTUALLY running the family business. Jim is pretty much just a bumbling idiot, more concerned with the way things “appear” to outsiders than the actual running of the railroad.
Dagny is the brains of the operation, running Taggart Transcontinental with impeccable business sense (a decision that she makes ultimately saves the company billions of dollars – which James takes credit for), and with a passion for what she does.
Henry Rearden is the owner of several successful business, Rearden steel, ore, manufacturing, and metal. He’s a hard worker, having built his business up from nothing, and thanks to Dagny, is ready to begin using his new metal. The product has not been cleared by any government groups, but Dagny takes a chance on Rearden and ends up commissioning his metal to be used to repair a Taggart Railway.
Meanwhile, the key producers of society are disappearing one by one, and no one knows where they are disappearing to. Between society crumbling, and these key people disappearing, Dagny struggles to keep her railway alive.
Okay, that was the cliff-notes version of the film – go read the book (or see the movie!) and you’ll get a better understanding.
While describing Atlas Shrugged to someone that hasn’t read the book would make it appear to be “just about a railroad”, it really is so much more than that. It’s about individual and economic freedom, and about being able to stand up and take ownership of something that YOU’VE created.
I believe that everyone should read Atlas Shrugged, but I understand that it isn’t for everyone and not everyone will love it as much as I do. But I ask you, put aside anything that you may have heard about Atlas Shrugged from the media (except this review) and go into this film (yes, I’ll allow you to see the film without reading the book) with an open mind and tell me how it affected you.
My thoughts on the film itself: Like I stated already, it was AWESOME. I was a nervous when I heard the Paul Johansson was directing and starring in it (I only know him as Dan Scott from One Tree Hill), but aside from a few nit-picky things that only a fan of the book would notice, I didn’t find his directing style anything but great.
Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart was another concern. In my head, Dagny is brunette, so when I saw Dagny as blond, my perception was thrown. However, Schilling is remarkable and plays Dagny in a truly remarkable and honest way. For me she WAS Dagny, and the second she started talking I never doubted the casting again.
My only complaint (if you could call it that) would be that James Taggart came across as more of a spoiled brat in the film rather than the clueless would-be company president that he is in the novel.
Regardless of this tiny portion, I would recommend Atlas Shrugged to anyone. Please see this movie. Go into it with an open mind, and come back and tell me exactly – Who is John Galt?
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