Well, I went to watch Atlas shrug (or, more accurately, start shrugging: this movie is only Part I) last night, and it was so-so, but basically enjoyable so-so. The film was obviously both a labor of love and a product of low budgets. The kitsch was unavoidable (we are talking Ayn Rand here), and damagingly reinforced by long stretches that had more than a touch of a TV miniseries, Dynasty say, about them — and not in a good way. Some of the performances were closer to wood than to Rearden Metal, but others did the trick: Graham Beckel (Ellis Wyatt) was a stand-out, Michael Lerner was a suitably slimy Wesley Mouch, and Grant Bowler a more than passable Hank Rearden. Armin Shimerman (the State Science Institute’s Dr. Potter) brought a counter-intuitive hint of the Ferengi to Rand’s dystopia (As K-Lo may not be looking, I’ll just pause for a second to wonder what Ms. Rand would have thought, their views on women aside, of the Ferengi). As Dagny Taggart, Taylor Schilling is highly decorative, and spends a lot of time purposefully striding around in a way that is, I suppose, Randian, but otherwise . . .
Still, there’s no denying that this movie has its moments and, even, passages that successfully evoke the wacky grandeur of Rand’s vision. I’d pass over the irony that some of them revolve around a high-speed train, and just concentrate on the celebration of human ingenuity.
I doubt this is a movie that will change many or any minds, but it might get a few people to check out the book, and that’s no bad thing.
And yes, I’ll go and see Part II — if it ever gets made.