Atlas Shrugged: Part I - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Atlas Shrugged: Part I Reviews

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½ July 6, 2016
I mean... It's Ayn Rand. I knew I wasn't going to like it, but this is just a train wreck (pun intended).

It's not even fair to criticize this movie as a movie. There's literally no nuance or artistic merit to anything going on in front of or behind the camera. There was supposedly a 20 million dollar budget but it looks like a hallmark movie. There are more times than I could keep count where the actors ran out of breath mid sentence and they just went with the shot anyways.

I'm assuming the dialogue and characters are directly transferred from the book. So instead all I can really criticize is the ideology.

This is possibly the most sociopathic movie I've ever seen.

The government is nothing more than a boogey man, attracting all of the evilest and greediest (although greed is only evil if you're not working in the puplic sector) people in the world. Luckily all of the good people (you know the kind of people that say things like "No you listen I'm taking over this business we jointly own", who try to use sex to rob people, and people who cheat on their spouses) have had exceptional success with their business and have helped grow the economy and made the lives of all Americans better, but not the Mexicans they had to be sacrificed because they were inevitably going to be socialists (yes, this actually happens).

The two main characters impose their wills upon the other evil and weak businessmen and are universally successful, unless the evil government is involved. The fact that libertarians leach on to this story is laughable. This isn't libertarianism. This is red pill power fetishism. It's wish fulfillment for sociopathic businessmen, with a complete lack of understanding of the existence class politics.
June 16, 2016
Great film. So much for open minds as far as the critics go.
March 28, 2016
Thought provoking but contrived. A very poor apologetic for greed.
½ March 25, 2016
Atlas Shrugged is the first of the film series that's based on the book by Ayn Rand, and it stars Taylor Schilling and Grant Bowler in the story adaptation about gasoline going really up, and consider that railroads are the only things that matter to the world, Rearden's Railroads is trying to make a difference, but people are trying to stop that from happening. I've heard about this film series for a long time because of the very low reviews that they all have. Years later however, my history teacher brought up the name the author Ayn Rand, and we were talking a bit about the films, which at the point, I was curious to see what it's about, and so I rented all three of them. So for the first one, it's a decent start which is a surprise to me as I went in with low expectations. The acting is fine, which I'm surprised that Taylor Schilling is in this, which she put up a decent performance also, but it's really nothing special for any of the actors. The script is also fine, which I'm glad that I was actually a bit invested in this, and was never confusing since railroads were the main plot of it. For a low budgeted film, the effects are pretty good, for the most part that is. The story is interesting, but it's a bit out there however. The characters are a bit inconsistent in this like when the main character says that she doesn't get emotions, but then there are times when she does get some emotional moments. Throughout the film, it feels very underwhelming and was trying to be better, but was restrained or something. There were some plot coincidences that happened out of nowhere. Atlas Shrugged: Part I is a decent attempt that with an interesting cliffhanger, I'm curious to see the sequel to this one.
½ January 22, 2016
Such a shame, because as a huge fan of the book this movie in no way, shape, or form does it justice. They skip over some of the best parts, throw things together that to someone who has never read the book, would be utterly confused as to what is going on. Such a squandered opportunity. Hopefully someone down the road can come along and do the book justice (or maybe just do Rand's The Fountainhead), but until then we have this piece of garbage.

Edit: Oh, and they have it take place in the 21st century when the book is based around the train and steel industries of the early 20th century. You've got to be kidding me.
½ January 19, 2016
Unfaithful adaption. Poorly shot. Big reveals of the book spoiled in first 2 minutes of the movie. Essentially a big slap in the face to fans of Ayn Rand's monumental work.
½ January 10, 2016
Just seamed to go on an on.
½ December 7, 2015
So this is Atlas Shrugged, the long-delayed film version of Ayn Rand's long and overexposited philosophy course marketed as a novel. I know something of the book and went in expecting something of a trainwreck. It's much worse than that. I thought it would be an amusing crash but instead the film is interminably long and filled with ridiculous pacing. I had wondered how they'd adapt Rand's clumsy dialogue and boring speeches into film and they do it in the simplest way possible: they film it as written. So

Basically the plot is this: the rich, successful white businessmen are fiendishly oppressed by a government that's trying to make them support small businessmen and the less privileged. These noble figures care so much about, well, themselves that they abandon the society that rejects their desire to form monopolies (quite literally the stated and heroic goal) and drive small businesses and dissatisfied workers out of business (again, quite literally exactly what we're shown in scenes designed to make clear that we should support this) that they abandon it to its fate and leave to form their own government where they're free to oppress people in peace.

This "oppression" consists entirely of strawman arguments which present the government not so much as the extreme form of a nanny state but as an entirely imaginary system where the government crushes big businesses but does nothing for anyone. All "villains" are simultaneously altruists out to provide opportunities for the less wealthy and greedy fatcats out to line their own pockets. It's not that those two traits are incompatible, but they make no effort to merge them or even point out their hypocrisy. The villainous businessmen are willingly giving up their profits to help the less fortunate and yet somehow also seen as lining their pockets from this in a typical fatcat way. How can those two ideas coexist? And the film doesn't even try to make sense of it because that'd mean assuming that there are rational beliefs possible outside their own.

Yes, this film is about objectivism; the idea that greed is good doesn't go far enough. Greed isn't just good it's the only good. Altruism isn't just naive it's evil. Any attempt to help your fellow man is wasted because if they aren't already successful it's because they're not working hard enough. The poor deserve to be poor. No free meals. No helping hands. No supporting small businesses. Nothing that would damage the almighty profit. If it doesn't benefit you personally you shouldn't do it. All history is made by supermen, people who are smart enough to recognize that only profit matters and good enough to maximize that. They drive the economy and they create jobs, although as the film makes clear they also don't follow safety regulations or pay a living wage. If they deserve to survive then they should have been better businessmen. It's about the single most appalling philosophy of the century. Even fascism and communism at least paid lip service to the idea that their society (however narrowly defined) needed to be kept from starvation and abuses of the wealthy.

And the film itself is designed to do nothing but promote this agenda. It's not really well-equipped to do anything else. The entire plot is just people talking about how great their business is, or how awesome it is to not care about other people. So yes, we get to watch people talk about business regulations and economic policies all day. Yay! The basic concept is that in the dark future year of 2016 (my God, that's like tomorrow!) the entire world is brought low by an oil shortage. This creates a new reliance on the railroads, which the country now relies on to transport goods cross country. You might be expecting this to mean that people have stopped or severely limited driving cars, boats, or airplanes. Nope. They still use them just as before. But now rail is big! So the lead character has found this businessman who is marketing a brand new type of metal that could revolutionize the rail industry (10x stronger than steel!). Her brother decides he doesn't want to use this new steel because he wants to support the small businesses he usually buys from. What a jerk! She overrules him somehow and orders the new steel put in. At this point her brother conspires to sabotage his own line and prevent it from being completed. Because the plot assumes that all non-greedy people are stupid. That's the only explanation this film can find for why people wouldn't sell their own family for profit. After all, they're already acting against their own interests by supporting smaller companies, so they must be irrational. There can be no other explanation. So our hero now has to succeed in her ultra high-tech railroad against all odds.

And that's basically the whole plot. Nothing really happens in this entire film. A series of wealthy businessmen keep being accosted by a mysterious man in a hat, as their names appear with the word missing written under them. it was at this point that I came to the horrible realization that this film thought it was a thriller. Honestly, it's hard to find words for how dull this is. It doesn't really have any plot, and what little there is gets delivered in highly stilted and unbelievable pronouncements. Despite this oversimplicity the film just fails to make sense. It's confusing, needlessly so. Who are all these people vanishing? Why does it matter? Is this supposed to be sinister? It's all exposition and nothing is exposited. Just again and again they state the same thing: looking out for your interests is the only true good. I'd call it propaganda, but that's supposed to make an idea seem attractive. This just made me fall asleep, and I don't sleep through films easy.

There are a few funny scenes. Like the testing of their new bridge. They treat this as if it's some dramatic moment as they ride in their train across it half-expecting it to fall. It's so obviously a falsely dramatic moment I couldn't stop laughing. Only morons would test a bridge like that without having done stress tests first. By the time they ride over it would be obvious if it would hold up or not. What's more, making it over once is irrelevant. The question is whether it stands up over time. And of course, the train rides along the course of a valley until it reaches a tall cliff. Naturally that's where one puts their railroad bridge! That said, moments like this are few and between. The film wasn't as campy as I had hoped. It isn't really anything. Just a bland mess with a repulsive message.

It's rather hilarious to read the positive user reviews of this film because they're all passionate ideologues. That's not funny because they have an ideology, but because they stutter around for a bit looking for something, anything, positive to say about this trainwreck and end up criticizing the film left and right before moaning about how much better the book was (like poetry!) and finally settling on a positive review just to make a point. Reading the positive reviews should actually show just how bad this film is because you can see that even its fans have little to offer apart from criticism. They only support it because of what it stands for. I feel no sympathy.
November 15, 2015
I have to take off half a star for the awful CGI. Otherwise, I loved it. A really intriguing film. :-)
½ September 20, 2015
A bit interesting maby , all political games , no real action ...the ending looking maby promising for part 2 ?
½ July 13, 2015
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
May 8, 2015
The ideas of individual freedoms and responsibilities in this movie are refreshing. Other films that show the opposite such as 1984 are also quite good.
March 16, 2015
It's a pitty that Ayn's writting was so rash. Her message was fantastic, thou, and everyone should listen to it. This series of movies are heroic in this sense.
March 15, 2015
I really liked the book. This movie, however, didn't do it for me. It didn't hit a lot of the major themes and most of the great monologs were missing from this. I think this movie missed the point of the book. Good try, but lacking execution.

Also, each of the movies in the series had a completely different cast.
March 10, 2015
Since I just listened to the Audiobook of Part I I figured I'd watch my DVD again. The movie still stands up on its own, though the story is much more in depth in book form. They are able to avoid some of the nuances of the ongoing affair between Dagny and Hank by having him just say "hey I heard about this motor" I really couldn't expect more given the medium. It may have been better if we adapted it better for the time, maybe airlines instead of railroads, but I don't fault them taking the easy way. The one thing I do fault them on is making Reardon Metal a beautiful silver color instead of the nasty ugly blue-green vomit color that the book described.
January 16, 2015
80 million on ssi OK, this film I guess we just let them starve right ?
½ December 5, 2014
why is there a movie? Why was there a book? bad
December 4, 2014
Considering the volume of material covered in the book they did a good job with the movie. It is definitely worth seeing.
October 19, 2014
...only out of morbid fascination.
October 3, 2014
This movie gets too much a bad rep. Either ignorant liberals immediately hate it simply because it's Atlas Shrugged or Hardcore objectivists hate it for not living up to their standards. I'ts stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Firstly this isn't the book. This is a movie. So lets not compare it to the book and look at it on its own merits. Its not great. But it's nowhere near as bad as reviewed.

It's an average film. If you don't like dialog and boring dinner scenes this isn't for you. However this is designed for a different audience. I actually enjoyed it. Not in the way I enjoy a 5 star epic; but in a different more tame way.

It's really not fair to judge a movie because they had a low budget either. I'll put this straight out their as a non biased source. It's not as bad as the reviews claim.
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