Atlas Shrugged: Part I Reviews
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.
as a bona fide rand fanatic, i was bitterly dissappointed.
I was especially upset that they immediately spoiled the mystery of who John Galt was- probably the biggest source of mystery and excitement in the book, in the beginning of the first movie. That's why the movie poster for Part III of the film series saying "who is john galt: FIND OUT!" is kind of silly. He was never faithfully portrayed in the film as the enigmatic villain he was throughout more than half of the book.
But, Jack, you're asking, what is the movie "about"? Um... let's see ::glances up at plot synopsis:: it's basically about a couple of rich fucks who run a railroad company in, um, five years from now(!) who keep hearing about some guy named John Galt who is supposed to be the Hero of Capitalism or some such crap, and then there's a new metal for a railroad and the really boring day-time soap opera chick comes on as one of the Taggart siblings to be the Heroic Capitalist Avenger or whatever and throw some water at a guy's face and look not angry and oh no I've let this be a run on sentence....
I so couldn't give a shit reallly to even explain it. It's basically watching the upper echelons of society- those with a lot of money who act like heroes because they are making tons of money for themselves while the 'villains' are those dirty, dirty liberals who are smoking fat cigars and making big fat deals behind or just out in the open of closed doors. Supposedly society has collapsed, sorta, gas prices have skyrocketed (past what it is now, like $37 per gallon or some such malarkey), and all the BIG drama takes place in office rooms and fancy restaurants and nice houses and once or twice in "actual" places like a subway terminal or a street. We become aware of some vast conspiracy that has businessmen being abducted by some shadowy figures in the street (and what blandly shadowy figures they are, a first in cinematic history I think)... this SHOULD be one of the creepy and memorable parts of the movie, even an unintentionally funny part, but the only chuckle is at a stupid freeze-frame in black and white with TYPED-OUT LETTERS done for the person on screen.
I don't want to under-sell it - it's biggest crime is being indifferent, to itself and to its audience. If I were an Ayn Rand fan (and if I ever become one I'm certain you'll be the first to know you bastards) I would be offended by this movie. I didn't get a sense of any kind of political or philosophical conviction past... I dunno, making lots of money and screwing poor people over once or twice? I guess that's the libertarian and/or "Tea-Party" ideal, but it's such poorly handled propaganda. Where's Leni Riefenstahl when you need her, or (arguably) Michael Moore? Hell, when it comes to a cult - and make no mistake, the "Randians" are often called as such - how about Battlefield Earth? At least that has Travolta hamming it up like it's Christmas time and the pig's just aching to be sliced.
That's another thing I should note, what contributes to the dull sense of life slipping ever so quickly away from the film, is the acting, or non-acting really. While there are some professionals here, people like Michael Lerner and Jon Polito, which just made me pine to go back and watch Coen brothers movies, and other somewhat recognizable character actors ("Big Love" from House and that one Winkies dream dude from Mulholland Drive), none fare well here because the director, some uber-HACK who mostly moonlights on WB tripe like One Tree Hill, doesn't even give the character players a bone to chew on. Taylor Schilling though is the most eggregious offence here and one of the main things that had me walk out. Her eyes, dead eyes, like a doll's eyes, do nothing with a character who is supposed to have gumption and determination and... SOMETHING, I dunno! Even when she does emote it's that kind of empty style that would make Andy Warhol cringe and sends mothers weeping with their children in agony. Her paired with the equally woodboardwood Grant Bowler and Matthew Marsden (I don't think I got to see the director in action as the much touted Galt by the time I left).
And sure, maybe by now you might be thinking 'but, Jack, come on, how can you review it without having seen the whole movie? You might be missing on some of the most brilliant political commentary you've ever seen!' Well, first of all, in that case, why were you reading this you trolling piece of garbage. And secondly, I'm not Roger Ebert and I don't need to do a kind of deal like he did with that one movie where he watched 8 minutes and wrote his review (do forgive me for not remembering the title). I gave it a solid chance, and I tried to get into it, even as a "bad" movie. But there's *nothing* there. It's a soulless, empty excursion into a very bad American mindset in the writing that is surrounded by the kind of direction that is bad on a Last Airbender level. It also kills you realizing what better things you could be doing, how you can actually be having real substantive arguments or reading stuff online or at home or watching a solid political or philosophical thing somewhere. It's pandering tripe of the lowest order that commits the ultimate sin, as Frank Capra would say, of boring the audience.
But hey, it's a resounding success according to FOX News, so all is right with the world! :D
The problem with any message movie, whether the message be "the power of love" or "that money is awesome", is that in trying to either convert the sheeple or preach to the converted, they usually in their earnestness forget to entertain.
I do however look forward to the filmmakers first post-Rand project: The Wealth of Nations Part I.