“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, May 13, 2011

Regarding The Movie Atlas Shrugged

I have yet to review the recently-released movie of the quintessential conservative tome, Atlas Shrugged (Part One).

Let me get my thumbs up/down read on the film out of the way. Don't bother to see it.

Personally, I'll be surprised if Part Two is ever produced.

As I said several times to the friend with whom I saw the movie, the failure of the screenwriter to provide better dialogue than Rand's stilted, simplistic lines, doomed the movie.

The acting isn't terrific, either. All of the major roles- Dagney Taggart, her brother and Hank Reardon, are played by unknown actors. A few familiar character actors appear as Wesley Mouche and Wyatt, the oil baron. And Michael O'Keefe makes a 10 second appearance outside the famous diner in the hills of the American west.

If better talent had played some of the roles, the characters may have been a bit more interesting to those who haven't read the book. Jeremy Irons or Alan Rickman would have made a better Wesley Mouche. But the lack of a better script would limit any actor.

As I reminded my friend, who hadn't read the book since she was in high school some 30 years ago, Rand's dialogue, especially in what passed for romantic scenes, was dull and stilted. I vividly recall skimming over those parts, concentrating instead on the message in the prose describing the financial actions, as well as the occasional important free market capitalism speech by a character.

My friend was disappointed that the novel, originally set in what appeared to be the 1930s or '40s, was updated to the present, featuring smartphones and laptops. I opined that it was a pity they didn't update the dialogue to something worth listening to.

I was heartened that half of the movie theater was full for the afternoon showing. On the other hand, there were only four theaters within 30 miles of us showing the film. We had to drive about 45 minutes to see it.

My advice is to simply reread the book. That way, you can skip over the bad writing and focus on the more meaty philosophical parts of the book.

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