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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent, Skillful and Bold Film Adaptation, May 29, 2012
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This review is from: Atlas Shrugged: Part One (DVD)
The novel Atlas Shrugged is a tome of Biblical proportions and the plot, interesting enough, is really a vehicle for Ayn Rand's philosophy of `Objectivism'. She defined the essence of Objectivism as: "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

Anyone contemplating turning the novel into a film is faced with a daunting task. Rightly, the producers decided that it needed to be done in several parts, of which this is the first. Even so, they had to boil down the book's long philosophical soliloquies into just a couple of lines spoken by the actors. Anyone not familiar with the book really has to pay attention in order to understand the `why' of the plot's rapid transitions.

Having said this, the film is remarkably faithful in its visual imagery and in its inclusion of all the main philosophical features; of the political double dealing in Washington; of the Establishment suspicion (and sabotaging) of entrepreneurial endeavor; and of the official p.c. policy of cutting off the tall tulips and leveling everyone down to the lowest common level of incompetence. The message is even more relevant today than when Ayn Rand was writing in 1957. (See my reviews of The Abolition of Britain and of Voyage in the Beagle).

There are no big stars in the film, which is just as well, as they would have been a distraction. Yet the film is still superbly acted by a collection of talented unknowns (at least unknown to me). I particularly like Taylor Schilling as the heroine, Dagny Taggart, but frankly they are all great - and in character.

The DVD has extra material and I would advise anyone interested in understanding more of the philosophical underpinnings, to watch the filmmaker's commentary.

Atlas Shrugged's message is a subversive one - it threatens American power structures to the point where the big studios and film financiers refused to have anything to do with it. The producer had to use his own money to fund this part. I hope he can get the backing to finish the trilogy - it's worth it!
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