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Atlas Shrugged Review

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Atlas Shrugged.


PG 13 102 min


I'll admit at the outset that there's a heavy does of politics involved in the much awaited film version of the Ayn Rand classic ATLAS SHRUGGED.

I'm on my way to see the first show and trying hard to keep from any review before I see part one.

I've read the book and am duly impressed with Rand's philosophy yet the book itself is an admittedly tough read.

There are organization based on that world view, some bordering on cults, but no one can deny the depth of that school of though, whether or not one might embrace it.

As I say I'll be off to the theater soon and one question I'll be looking to answer is how the crew put together a massive feature on a shoestring (in Hollywood terms) budget that will meet the expectations of the Rand Zealots. Will this be Ralph Bakshi's LORD OF THE RINGS or Peter Jackson's?

(Or as the Gipper mentioned the Hubbard/Travolta BATTLEFIELD EARTH)

We'll see. Usually if a film has a hard left political position it's studded with the A list stars usual gang of suspects. For this there are no Sean Penns, Tom Robbins or George Clooneys on the marquee, and no Steven Spielberg at the production helm. We shall see.


So the basic story is of some of the great entrepreneurs whose risk taking and foresight have resulted in greatly successful businesses.

In their desire for power forces in the government and among less successful businesses force demands on these tycoons which eventually chip away at both the power and success they've created.

Two in particular are Reardon Metal and Taggart Rail Line.

They've created a revolutionary system that will make the steel and railroad industries obsolete.

Now through union rules monopoly laws bogus safety regulations and on and on the venture is in danger of survival. Those who can't or won't compete are eating away at the empire like rats. This is the dark side of Marxism.

Government meddling has begun to crippled innovation and success all across the country.

In part one these great innovators have started to disappear without a trace leaving only a cryptic query "Who is John Gault?" Will Taggart and Reardon be next?

That will be revealed in the next part.


OK I'm home and I have a few thoughts about the movie version.

First I'm glad they've gone with a three part series. Three or four hours of dry dialogue would be too much to take and would necessitate a series of speeches as in Oliver Stone's JFK. Just too much to say.

Second I think they did a fair job of rolling the plot along while still making the points that needed to be made.

Third, the acting was solid if not spectacular. I'm thinking some slightly more charismatic cast members would have given an audience not attuned to the book a better connection. Of course a big star might overshadow what's being done here.

Fourth the production was better than one may expected but still not the glossy Hollywood spectacle we've come to expect from major league shows.

Fifth it was abut as interesting as a morality play can be. In other words the lesson is the message and the story merely a vehicle to make that point.


Essentially director/actor Peter Johanson does a pretty good job of laying out the bullet points of the book and would be an excellent tool for the classroom.

As stand alone entertainment, well, to borrow a phrase “I guess you had to be there.”


As a vehicle to lay out the basis for a brilliant take on politics and human nature I give it a A-

As pure entertainment, a C.




email westsidesteve@aol.com



After I finish a review I look at what others have said.

Not surprisingly the audience, most likely Rand fans loved it and the usually liberal press who often tend to grade on message, well, not so much.

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