Atlas Shrugged: Part I Movie Reviews

Friday night, three CF staffers braved sold-out theaters to watch the much anticipated Atlas Shrugged movie, a film that was big on buzz and short on funds. The movie, like the novel, uses the experiences of railroad executive Dagny Taggart and steel magnate Hank Rearden to demonstrate the superiority of individualism, freedom and entrepreneurship over regulation and forced charity.

Here are our reactions:

Nick: I wasn’t too impressed. With choppy scenes, mediocre acting, and cheesy music playing over scenes that weren’t well explained, I must say that I was a little let down. As a true fan of Ayn Rand, I went to see the movie wearing my Ragnar Danneskold t-shirt, I had hoped the film would live up to novel and that was certainly not the case. However, Rand’s story is still powerfully refreshing, shunning the collectivist mentality that justifies coercion for the sake of equality. So despite the poor filmmaking, I’m ready for the sequel.

Elizabeth: The book is always better than the movie, and Atlas Shrugged is no different. Once you get past the opening minutes, which inform you that skyrocketing oil prices—thanks to unrest in the Middle East—have reinstated the dominance of railroad transportation, the story is free to progress uninhibited by modern day inconsistencies. I admit I was disappointed with the very brief appearance of Dr. Stadler, the character who compromises his principles for social approval (sound familiar?), but those who’ve made it through the 1,069 page novel will appreciate the film’s devotion to the book.

All in all, the movie’s amateurish undertones are eclipsed by the powerful ideas that turn much of today’s popular wisdom on its head. Any thoughtful person unfamiliar with Rand will be challenged by the films unabashed defense of capitalism, the ultimate goal of both the novel and the film. For that reason alone, I think the film is well worth watching.

Katrina: Knowing Atlas Shrugged was a low-budget film, I wasn’t expecting Oscar material. Then again, I haven’t read the book so I really didn’t know what to expect. This movie was clearly for those who have read the novel. While the larger themes of free markets and free people come through loud and clear, many of the nuances are lost to awkward transitions and confusing scenes. Atlas Shrugged is a great story that needs to be shared with the world; unfortunately this film does not have the mainstream appeal necessary to attract those unfamiliar with Rand and her works.