After years of trying, somebody finally made a film out of Ayn Rand's big-selling novel of "rational self-interest," Atlas Shrugged
. Well, got a start on it, anyway, with this 2011 release of Part One
(of three). The sprawling novel is necessarily telescoped down to size, and the focus is on railroad magnate Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) and her intricate strategies involving a piece of real estate in Colorado, an ongoing economic collapse, and the rugged individualist, Hank Rearden (Grant Bowler), whose new metal alloy might come in handy for laying new track. Of course, the real issue in Rand's scenario is not metal alloy but the fact that government regulation and a misguided sense of collectivism and altruism is strangling the elite members of society, something the movie reminds us of with grim regularity. As a kind of boardroom-plotting movie, Atlas Shrugged
isn't incompetent, and if director Paul Johansson hasn't devised a way to make these heavy-handed discussions come to life, at least it keeps moving along. If you like Rand's objectivist philosophy, you'll bask in the glow of having those ideas reaffirmed, and if you're uninitiated, well, they certainly are laid out there in stark fashion. (And if you find Rand's ideas absurd, you'll find this movie a little like watching a cult meeting.) As to the question "Who is John Galt?" you'll have to move on to Atlas Shrugged: Part Two
, released in 2012, to pick that up--but be ready to work at sorting the plot out anew, because Part One's cast has been replaced by a new roster of actors. --Robert Horton
Ayn Rand's timeless novel of rational self-interest comes to life for a new millennium.". The year is 2016, and America is on the verge of economic disaster. The greatest citizens are being targeted, and dark forces are working to bring about America’s final days. Our only hope for salvation lies with Dagny Taggart and Henry Rearden, rugged individualists whose bold ideas may have the power to spark a revolution and reclaim to the American Dream.