Atlas Shrugged Movie Review

Finally, at 7:35 Friday evening, I situated myself in a crowded Charlotte theater with popcorn and a coke, prepared to be… honestly, I wasn’t sure. After reading Atlas Shrugged some fifteen or so times over the past decade (yes I listen to it on tape more than I actually “read” it), I was excited of the possibility that Rand’s message would be introduced to many more people, driving yet another annual increase in the book’s sales. Given the state of the economy and most of our national leader’s demonstrable agenda, the timing could not be better. I’d spent some degree of effort in promoting the movie, based on the story, its message and what I had learned about the producers… and now was going to see what they did with Rand’s epic work.

Could the movie capture a philosophy? Could a low-budget adaptation capture the brilliance of the novel?

In short, yes. Well, mostly.

The movie was good; possibly not a great from a technical standpoint due to only a $10 million dollar budget, but definitely good. Although there were a few rough spots, the story was easy to follow, the theme evident, and the main characters were believable in their role. Atlas Shrugged Part 1 was very enjoyable and captivating.

I don’t remember the last movie I sat through a movie without checking my watch; I didn’t even once in this one. The liberties taken with the story were nominal and important to explain the context, and the only technical imperfection that bothered me was the overall darkness of the screen. The script was a little choppy in a couple of places, and I would have left off the last eight – ten words. There were a few hic-ups that Objectivists will have with the script (including one gasp), but these will be generally lost on the average viewer. The movie moved forward at a fast but comfortable and enjoyable pace.

What I was most impressed with, however, was that the movie did what I believe Ms. Rand would have wanted. Ultimately, the book is a warning; a warning of a world without a profit motive. Yes, Shrugged is much deeper than that, and the philosophy it outlines is dramatically deeper. But Shrugged Part 1 captures the warning more than adequately, fulfilling the purpose in an entertaining and thought provoking way. It was notable that 4 words were never used: Republican, Democrat, liberal, and conservative. What a relief.

This is a movie well worth $10 and a couple of hours of your time. Go see it, and I’ll bet you will want to read the book.

One warning: like Phillip Rearden, most of the nation won’t “get it”. Don’t expect to see many elected officials in attendance, and don’t expect those who see it to like it.

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For more information, please the following links:
Movie Trailer
NC and SC Theatres Showing Shrugged
Learn more about Atlas Shrugged
Read Chapters 1 and 2 online
Official Shrugged Movie Page

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