Film review: Atlas Shrugged

posted at 10:30 am on April 17, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

While some people waited excitedly for the premiere of the first cinema installment of Ayn Rand’s seminal novel Atlas Shrugged, I have to admit that I didn’t hold out high expectations for the film.  The book was a smashing exercise in philosophical, economic, and political study — absolutely brilliant.  As entertainment, however, the novel has its problems, and even the most determined reader can find getting through the book’s massive size a daunting and patience-testing task.  I read Atlas Shrugged twenty-five years ago, and while I appreciated its brilliance, I have had little desire to revisit it since.

So it’s fair to say that I prepared myself for a difficult slog, but to my surprise, Atlas Shrugged Part I turned into an intriguing, stylish film that did not water down the Randian message in the least.   In fact, the film format seems to free the characters in some sense from the limitations of Rand’s prose and give more clarity and purpose to the story, while keeping its message firmly at the film’s center.

When the novel was first published in 1957, the rail industry was still a central key to the American economy.  The film takes place in the near future, starting in 2016, and cleverly uses a global energy crisis to return rail to a central position in American industry.  Economic decline has pushed American government with ever-increasing speed into interventionism and central planning.  Politicians and lobbyists scream about fairness and the need to force the wealthy to pay their share in order to show compassion.  In fact, the producers could have placed large blocs of Barack Obama’s entitlement-reform speech from last Wednesday into the film, and it would have fit neatly into the narrative.

A few titans of industry resist the momentum of socialism — or to be more accurate, the crony capitalism that precedes and abets socialism and fascism. Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) needs to save her family’s railroad empire from her incompetent brother (Matthew Marsden), and turns to steel producer Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler) for a revolutionary new metal for aging and unreliable tracks.  She needs them to service oil tycoon Ellis Wyatt (Graham Beckel), who says he has discovered an ocean of oil in Colorado. Rearden’s facing trouble from the government as his former advocate Wesley Mouch (Michael Lerner) essentially switches sides and tries to put him out of business.  Meanwhile, prominent and successful men keep disappearing without a trace, and no one knows where they have gone — except perhaps Dagny’s old flame Francisco (Jsu Garcia), who may not be the dissipated playboy he seems.

All of this could have moved turgidly along for the 102 minutes of screen time that Part 1 takes, and in the first few minutes, the introductory dialogue seems a little stilted and forced.  The film quickly finds its pace, though, and moves snappily along afterward.  While the plot has been updated to contemporary times, the style of the film hearkens back to Rand’s time.  Dialogue is kept spare and meaningful, and skips the present-day sensibilities of tossing in stock comic-relief characters to lighten the mood. Visually, the film is rich and inviting, and thematically uses both the skepticism of noirish intrigues and the CinemaScope optimism seen in the 1950s and early 1960s, such as in films like Giant, which also had its share of both.

The characters get divided up fairly quickly into camps of antagonists and protagonists, with only Francisco and Paul Larkin (Patrick Fischler) having much ambiguity, and most of the characters in Part 1 belong in the former camp.  In morality plays — and this is definitely a large, complicated morality play — this kind of clarity is not unusual, and usually works.  It certainly does in Part 1.  Those used to having less certainty and more nuance in film characters will feel out of place, perhaps, but don’t confuse this with cardboard characterizations, at least not with the main characters.  Grant Bowler’s Henry Reardon is a masterpiece of underplayed power and nuance, easily the best performance in this installment, although newcomer Taylor Schilling does well as the central character in the film.

The best word to describe Atlas Shrugged Part 1 is … surprising.  It’s surprisingly well-paced, surprisingly intelligent, surprisingly well-acted, and surprisingly entertaining.  Perhaps most surprising of all, it has me thinking about re-reading the novel again.  I would highly recommend it to friends and their families.

Speaking of friends, one of the actors in the film is Navid Neghaban, who played the villainous husband in The Stoning of Soraya M. Navid will join me on Tuesday to discuss the film on The Ed Morrissey Show, which starts with Andrew Malcolm at 3 pm ET.

Update: I deliberately avoided reading reviews of the film until after I saw it first, but one of the first places I checked after writing my review was Reason Magazine — and I was surprised to find a range of reactions to it, from Kurt Loder’s panning to Brian Doherty’s qualified endorsement, with a more enthusiastic reaction from Matt Welch thrown in as well.   Also, according to Box Office Mojo, the limited release seems to be paying dividends.  The film had the third highest per-screen average on Friday night of the films at the box office.  The trick will be to move it up from 300 screens to somewhere over 1000, if possible.  With a budget of only $10 million, it won’t take long for the film to recoup its costs.


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HDFOB on April 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Until you posted that, Granby was known to me for its proximity to the headwaters of the Colorado River. That’s an amazing story – I hadn’t heard about it; you’ve forever changed my mental image for Granby.

Shay on April 17, 2011 at 3:31 PM

If I’m being honest, it is probably her best fiction work (IMO). It is a novel (her first) and isn’t full of any nascent philosophy as is The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

A good read.

catmman on April 17, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Agreed. Some time during the past few years, when it was fashionable to do “top 100″ lists of something-or-other, some conservative site (or non-liberal site, at least) which I frequented solicited their readers’ nominations for best novels of all time. But they specifically said NOT to nominate Atlas Shrugged, because “it is not a novel. It is a political tract in the form of a novel.”

Not sure I’d quarrel with that. Newbie Randites would be well-advised to start with Anthem and We the Living before starting the heavy lifting of AS.

Owen Glendower on April 17, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Audible.com has the audio version , all 60 hrs, if you sign up.

magic kingdom on April 17, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Yep, and it’s free if you become a first-time subscriber. That’s the unabridged version. For Hermann’s abridged version, it’ll cost you an audible.com credit.

I’m glad and surprised to see Amazon promoting it somewhat. Back in the olden days, audible.com had very weak selection of non-liberal books. It’s become much, much better in the last couple of years.

petefrt on April 17, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I thought the movie was great, and it really worked. Dagney Taggart was a major inspiration to me when I first read the novel in my late teens — smart, confident, unapologetic, and successful. The movie did a great job capturing Dagney.

bitsy on April 17, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Trains run on oil too.

Of course they do. However there’s a very good reason why you see a whole bunch of trains that are 100% intermodal traffic and why most of the eastern railroads in particular went to great expense to enlarge tunnels and raise bridge clearances so to permit the passage of double-stack container carriers.

Freight transportation by rail is vastly more energy efficient and cost-effective than by any other means except large ships.

I would think also that at the $35/gallon fuel prices indicated by the film’s dystopic portrayal of 2016 that there would be plenty of people willing to pay an economic fare for personal transportation via rail over driving.

allanbourdius on April 17, 2011 at 3:50 PM

I am exceedingly wroth with RottenTomatoes.com. Not because of the negative rating, but because, I think for the first time ever, I saw a user-submitted movie quote that was completely made up out of whole cloth, and there is no apparent way to correct it or have it taken down.

On the Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 page, some clown named “Michael G.” has attributed the following quote to (of all people) James Taggart:

James Taggart: I am a producer, therefore, I am awesome and infallible. What the hell did you produce today? Nothing! Suck it, proletariat!

- submitted by Michael G (9 days ago)

Here’s a link — scroll down to the bottom to see the quotes.

Not only does James Taggart never say that, or anything like it, in the film, it’s not the kind of thing that character would ever say. (James Taggart is way too mealy-mouthed / wimpy / conflicted to ever come out with a comment like that.)

RottenTomatoes clearly never anticipated that users might deliberately submit bogus quotes to discredit a movie, but this “Michael G” person has done just that — and RT has no mechanism to fix it. I wrote to their customer service department to see if anything can be done about it — I’ll let you all know what happens.

Mary in LA on April 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM

A few titans of industry resist the momentum of socialism — or to be more accurate, the crony capitalism that precedes and abets socialism and fascism. Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) needs to save her family’s railroad empire from her incompetent brother (Matthew Marsden), and turns to steel producer Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler) for a revolutionary new metal for aging and unreliable tracks

The movie misses the opportunity to drive home the importance of protecting those industries central to the growth of the US economy. Back when the book was written, one could viably look to railroads as filling that role. The movie should have picked another industry that continues to play a central, dynamic role to economic growth. Certainly that’s not railroads.

bayam on April 17, 2011 at 3:57 PM

plenty of people willing to pay an economic fare for personal transportation via rail over driving.

Not a chance when solar and other alternative energy sources continue to gain in efficiencies- not to mention the new discoveries of natural gas reserves throughout the country. People will drive electric cars powered indirectly by natural gas or solar farms in the desert. American dominance in hi tech will eventually transform energy.

bayam on April 17, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Last I checked, it takes something like a tablespoon of oil to move a pound of fruit/produce/whatever, by rail, across the country. It is extremely energy-efficient, which is why the movie producers (one of whom manufacturers exercise equipment and probably is familiar with shipping rates!) used $37.50/gallon gasoline as a reason why rail travel was so important.

Clearly, the big thing that the movie writers and producers missed was that some people who saw it would be total morons, who would blame the movie for the fact that they don’t operate on all cylinders.

Roxeanne de Luca on April 17, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Watched it at a metro theater this morning, about 2/3 full for a 10 am showing – loved it. As a Rand fan (The Fountainhead is my favorite novel), I have very minor quibbles, but the movie is faithful to the spirit of the first part of the novel, which is all I would ever ask for. Ed’s take more/less mirrors mine, and the audience I saw it with this morning applauded at the end.

One observation I haven’t seen elsewhere: the movie got a PG-13 rating, even though it has one very tame love scene and exactly two mid-level obscenities. For anyone who complains about all the trash in films, even family-oriented ones, you can go see this and even if you don’t like the story or the theme, you can at least rest-assured that two hours of sexual-innuendo and wanton violence it ain’t.

/Palin12

elcapt on April 17, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Mary in LA on April 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Should add that not only does James Taggart not say that, nobody else in the film does either. The bogus “quote” is a parody of a coarse and common caricature.

Mary in LA on April 17, 2011 at 4:06 PM

The movie did a great job capturing Dagney.

bitsy on April 17, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Dagny

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2011 at 4:20 PM

I have a question for those here who have been discussing the audiobook versions of Atlas Shrugged: What is cut out in the 11-hour abridgement? Obviously, going down from 63 (!) to 11 hours required a lot of snipping. If anyone has details about what specifically was left on the cutting-room floor in doing the shorter version, I would be very interested.

WesternActor on April 17, 2011 at 4:28 PM

The most important thing about this movie is that being able to see the plot and the ideas of Atlas Shrugged, rather than just reading about them, makes them one step closer to becoming real.

I really hope that parts 2 and 3 get made, and then I can buy the Blu-ray set. Also, I am going to purchase some memorabilia from the movie’s website.

capricorn on April 17, 2011 at 4:33 PM

As far a social commentary, I prefered Heinlein’s “Starship Trooper”.

Fynxbell on April 17, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Or The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

TNSTAAFL

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

I read Atlas Shrugged 30+ years ago, and I’m looking forward to this treat. Thanks for the review, Ed!

disa on April 17, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Trivia: in Swedish, Dagny is pronounced DAHNG-nue. Roughly phonetic. After I read the book, I wanted to name my daughter that (I was married to a Swede at the time).

My unborn daughter thanks me. It’s not a beautiful name.

disa on April 17, 2011 at 4:45 PM

I saw it at 11:15 this morning and I loved it! There were only a few people in the theater at that hour. Updating the story to 2016 worked very well. I think you’re absolutely right, Ed. This is the PERFECT time for this movie to be released. The parallels to what is going on here and now were eerily striking.

Stopped by the book store afterwards and picked up We The Living to take with me on vacation next week. Then I think I’ll re-read The Fountainhead. One of my all-time favorite books.

Can’t wait for Part II!

Naturally Curly on April 17, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Trains run on oil too.

HTH.

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 3:29 PM

No contest when it comes to efficiency, though. Modern disel engines actually fuel electric generators that run the drive motors, and an entire train’s worth of goods can run about an equivalent distance on a fraction of the amount of fuel that it would take a fleet of trucks to use.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 4:55 PM

No contest when it comes to efficiency, though. Modern disel engines actually fuel electric generators that run the drive motors, and an entire train’s worth of goods can run about an equivalent distance on a fraction of the amount of fuel that it would take a fleet of trucks to use.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Soooooo…do you guys support high speed rail?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Soooooo…do you guys support high speed rail?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM

As just one means and not at the exclusion of all other.

See France. Just because they have high speed rail doesn’t mean that they don’t produce nuclear power for most of Europe.

You are way too narrowly focused in your smart-allecky attitude. It will hurt you in life.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2011 at 5:04 PM

I wrote to their customer service department to see if anything can be done about it — I’ll let you all know what happens.

Mary in LA on April 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Good work.

Important to know that film industry and world of film criticism is shot through with liberal/left mindset to same degree as academia. Furthermore, there was enormous pent-up loathing for this project. The Left is heavily invested in making sure this film does not find a wider audience. The LA Times “review” is a testimony to this, a parody of actual criticism. That’s why second week of release will be a big test.

rrpjr on April 17, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Soooooo…do you guys support high speed rail?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM

My support for high-speed rail is qualified. If it can compete with other forms of transportation without tax dollars, sure. But that you would have to ask that question of me tells me that you aren’t very familiar with my guiding principles.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:08 PM

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:08 PM

She doesn’t care about your principles, guiding or otherwise. She cares only about her Utopian idealism, the marching orders she gets.

You keep on being free. She can suffer the plantation, as an elitist enforcer, or as a plankton bank member.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2011 at 5:12 PM

My support for high-speed rail is qualified. If it can compete with other forms of transportation without tax dollars, sure.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Er, yeah. Problem is, every major form of transportation is subsidized with taxpayer dollars. Who do you think built the interstate highway system? Who do you think subsidizes airport construction and the air traffic control system?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:14 PM

You keep on being free. She can suffer the plantation, as an elitist enforcer, or as a plankton bank member.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2011 at 5:12 PM

I’m just saying, anyone that knows me on the most superficial level wouldn’t have to ask me if I support high-speed rail. But I know better than that. Any libby who asks me if I support high speed rail is really asking me, “Do you support tax dollars going to high speed rail…” I know where those straw men come from.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Er, yeah. Problem is, every major form of transportation is subsidized with taxpayer dollars. Who do you think built the interstate highway system? Who do you think subsidizes airport construction and the air traffic control system?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Okay. So the continuing subsistence of transportation on federal dollars means that we should subsidise high-speed rail with even more federal dollars?

This is chasing a rabbit trail right now that I don’t feel like down on this particular thread, but let me pull an Obama here and be perfectly clear:

I believe that the less government does, the better. The more government does, the more it screws up. The vast majority of catastrphic business failures, in fact, as well as most economic discontent, can be traced to some form of government intervention at some point.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM

The government currently cripples rail because of all the restrictions government has put on rail.

So first the government takes my money to kill private railroads, then it want to take more of my money to build new public railroads, and then continue taking money from me to subsidize it.

Hmm….

No, I don’t think I’ll go for that.

Sackett on April 17, 2011 at 5:22 PM

The movie misses the opportunity to drive home the importance of protecting those industries central to the growth of the US economy. Back when the book was written, one could viably look to railroads as filling that role. The movie should have picked another industry that continues to play a central, dynamic role to economic growth. Certainly that’s not railroads.

bayam on April 17, 2011 at 3:57 PM

The movie makes the point, at the very beginning, how and why rail has become what it is in the movie. The movie also makes the point of the importance of rail to keep major industry going, particularly oil and fuel (coal and ore are discussed as well), since there is no other cost effective/more efficient way to transport energy across the country than by rail.

The movie - repeatedly – makes the point that if not for rail (Taggert Transcontinental isn’t the only rail line discussed in the film) the country and industry would in fact collapse.

catmman on April 17, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Soooooo…do you guys support high speed rail?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Ignoramus.

Why should it need support?

fossten on April 17, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Er, yeah. Problem is, every major form of transportation is subsidized with taxpayer dollars. Who do you think built the interstate highway system? Who do you think subsidizes airport construction and the air traffic control system?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:14 PM

I don’t think you really believe this is a ‘problem’.

But ‘thanks’ for your noncontribution to the thread.

fossten on April 17, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Okay. So the continuing subsistence of transportation on federal dollars means that we should subsidise high-speed rail with even more federal dollars?

The fact that every competing form of transportation receives generous federal subsidization means high-speed rail won’t be able to compete without similar subsidization. It’s disingenuous to say “I support high speed rail if it can compete without our tax dollars,” when you know that the industries it’d be competing with already receive our tax dollars. Make sense?

I believe that the less government does, the better. The more government does, the more it screws up. The vast majority of catastrphic business failures, in fact, as well as most economic discontent, can be traced to some form of government intervention at some point.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM

This is just silly, but…

This is chasing a rabbit trail right now that I don’t feel like down on this particular thread

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Soooooo…do you guys support high speed rail?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Sure do! BUT… Only when it’s not heavily subsidized and exists based on it’s own merits and profits and not the backs of taxpayers. That should not be the business of government.

oddjob1138 on April 17, 2011 at 5:37 PM

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Are you really that much of a moron?

I believe that no form of transportation that currently receives federal subsidies should receive them at all! It’s silly for states to get federal highway money when that money comes from the state’s citizens to begin with, and often ends up a tool of federal blackmail!

I don’t accept federal subsidies as a fact of life that must continue. We survived up to some point without them, and our nation has not desmonstrably been more prosperous because of them, douchebag.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Sooooo… Get ALL the tax dollars out of the transportation industry. The government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.

oddjob1138 on April 17, 2011 at 5:38 PM

We survived up to some point without them, and our nation has not desmonstrably been more prosperous because of them, douchebag.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Sooooo… Get ALL the tax dollars out of the transportation industry. The government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.

oddjob1138 on April 17, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Wow, that’s a new one. So you guys believe the government should no longer build and maintain roads?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:45 PM

The fact that every competing form of transportation receives generous federal subsidization means high-speed rail won’t be able to compete without similar subsidization. It’s disingenuous to say “I support high speed rail if it can compete without our tax dollars,” when you know that the industries it’d be competing with already receive our tax dollars. Make sense?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:25 PM

The problem is not that rail receives subsidies. The problem is that it receives gigantic subsidies, and the industry still cannot turn a profit when trying to move people. So much so that passenger rail has been taken over entirely by the state, and it is still a massive drain on resources.

Outside of densely populated regions (most notably, if not exclusively, the NorthEast corridor), passenger rail is a loser, regardless of the amount of subsidies poured into it. The same cannot be said of automobile or air travel.

JohnGalt23 on April 17, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Wow, that’s a new one. So you guys believe the government should no longer build and maintain roads?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:45 PM

The federal government? Not really. Farm it out to the states, and let the states decide which bids are most advantageous to them. If it can be kept local, it should.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:52 PM

And if the states are responsible for roads within their own borders, then the government won’t have to waste so much effort on giving money back to the states that comes from the states’ citizenry anyway. Cut out the middlemen!

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I’m so happy! Graham is my former acting coach out here in Los Angeles and he’s an awesome guy. Straight Shooter. Real normal even keeled guy. Funny too. He’s had a few other major movies with minor roles here and there, namely LA Confidential, and Brokeback Mountain, as well as a U.S. Army commercial. I remember last year, when I saw him on Fox News getting interviewed by Hannity with his brother, I was still at University and after class I privately confided my Conservative views on things to him. He’s a good man. I’m glad to hear the movie was a solid one.

chilly_willy on April 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM

The federal government? Not really. Farm it out to the states, and let the states decide which bids are most advantageous to them. If it can be kept local, it should.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:52 PM

haha. Ok so you’re ok with the interstate highway system falling into disrepair?

You’ve backed yourself into a corner. It’s ok to admit that and move on.

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Outside of densely populated regions (most notably, if not exclusively, the NorthEast corridor), passenger rail is a loser, regardless of the amount of subsidies poured into it. The same cannot be said of automobile or air travel.

JohnGalt23 on April 17, 2011 at 5:48 PM

In fact, the TSA is harming air travel. I had a chance to fly to New York this Summer, but I’m not going at all as long as I run the risk of having some dude touch me like an arrestee in a holding cell.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:56 PM

haha. Ok so you’re ok with the interstate highway system falling into disrepair?

You’ve backed yourself into a corner. It’s ok to admit that and move on.

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

The states are perfectly capable of maintaining the interstate highway system within their own borders. Just reduce the amount of taxes paid by the people to the federal government by the amount of federal highway funding, and voila! The states can keep the money instead of having to endure federal extortion and blackmail!

You are happy with the status quo. I am not. Funny that they call me “conservative” considering I’m really the one who wants the system to fundamentally change.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Ok so you’re ok with the interstate highway system falling into disrepair?

You’ve backed yourself into a corner. It’s ok to admit that and move on.

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Once again counselor, you are assuming facts not in evidence (a phrase that you should get used to hearing, if in fact you haven’t already done so).

Now that the interstate system is in place (something that probably couldn’t have been done without the federal government), there is absolutely no evidence that the individual states could not provide upkeep as well, if not better than the federal government.

Which to a large extent, they already do.

JohnGalt23 on April 17, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Just saw it, loved it, exceeded my expectations. Theatre was about half -full on a Sunday afternoon, there was applause at the end. It looks like they’re still #3 in per-screen average.

The production values weren’t 100% — you can tell this is a small-budget film. And if you haven’t read the book, it’s probably a bit hard to follow. But they still managed to put together a beautiful picture that is very true to the book and fun to watch.

For a more objective opinion, my wife, who has not read the book and is basically nonideological, liked it. Going in, I was worried she might fall asleep

TallDave on April 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Now that the interstate system is in place (something that probably couldn’t have been done without the federal government), there is absolutely no evidence that the individual states could not provide upkeep as well, if not better than the federal government.

Which to a large extent, they already do.

JohnGalt23 on April 17, 2011 at 6:02 PM

A point that you made somewhat more eloquently than I did. ;) The only role that the federal governement really plays at all in maintaining any highways is parcelling money out to the states, who then spend it accordingly. This role is far from crucial, as the people that pay taxes could just as easily pay them to the state.

The assumption that if the federal government doesn’t do something, it won’t get done, is a common liberal misconception.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 6:06 PM

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 6:06 PM

I would argue, from a Constitutional point of view, that the fed does have some responsibility to fund those highways, to the extent that they are used for defense and post road purposes.

But outside of that, there is no reason the states cannot hold responsibility for their maintenance.

JohnGalt23 on April 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

I would argue, from a Constitutional point of view, that the fed does have some responsibility to fund those highways, to the extent that they are used for defense and post road purposes.

But outside of that, there is no reason the states cannot hold responsibility for their maintenance.

JohnGalt23 on April 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

I think that’s debatable. The constitution’s wording seems very precise in allowing the federal government to establish post roads. It is rather silent on how those roads must be paid for, and when the constitution is silent on a matter, its clear intent is to defer to the states.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

…when the constitution is silent on a matter, its clear intent is usually to defer to the states.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

FIFM, as such intent isn’t always clear in this day and age.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

I wasn’t that impressed with “Atlas” when I first read it in high school, and less so when I re-read about 15 years ago.

Rand was a ‘individualist’, not a conservative, and a rabid atheist who eventually took her own life.

For me “Atlas” was too spartan, and self-serving; totally devoid of Faith, compassion or altruism. It seemed to be a pantheon to Darwinism, set entirely upon an economic stage as a gauge of success or failure in life. And whoa to them who cannot be John Galt.

No thanks.

In a bit of irony, the weekend box office says that this incarnation of “atlas” is not fit to survive, coming in 14th, right behind such towering celluloid screeds as ‘dairy of a wimpy kid,’ ‘the Lincoln Lawyer,’ and ‘Your Highness.”

locomotivebreath1901 on April 17, 2011 at 6:14 PM

locomotivebreath1901 on April 17, 2011 at 6:14 PM

You’re seriously going to pose in a thread where most of the people have actually read Atlas Shrugged? First, Ayn Rand did not “take her own life” – she died of heart failure after being a lifelong heavy smoker. If Ayn Rand did take her life, what exactly would that have to do with anything?

Second:

For me “Atlas” was too spartan, and self-serving; totally devoid of Faith, compassion or altruism. It seemed to be a pantheon to Darwinism, set entirely upon an economic stage as a gauge of success or failure in life. And whoa to them who cannot be John Galt.

You’ve basically described values completely antithetical to the book specifically, and Objectivism in general. First, altruism, faith and selfishness are implicitly and explicitly addressed in the book, altruism especially. To say such a thing is to read the Bible and say, “I just thought there was too much about God in it, and not enough about American history.”

Furthermore, economic success is not equivalent to success or failure in life in Atlas Shrugged, nor in Objectivism. You are parroting things other trolls parrot who haven’t read the novel, which not only makes you a poseur, it makes you a really unimaginative one.

It’s an impressive commenter who can refer to a book that’s nearly 1,200 pages long as “spartan,” especially since most people who’ve actually read the book and didn’t like its style tend to note the overuse of vivid adjectives and long speeches, not exactly the mark of a spartan work.

/obvioustrollisobvious

elcapt on April 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

elcapt:

Opinions. Everyone’s got one.

locomotivebreath1901 on April 17, 2011 at 6:37 PM

elcapt on April 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Hear, hear!!

JohnGalt23 on April 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM

RottenTomatoes clearly never anticipated that users might deliberately submit bogus quotes to discredit a movie, but this “Michael G” person has done just that — and RT has no mechanism to fix it. I wrote to their customer service department to see if anything can be done about it — I’ll let you all know what happens.

Mary in LA on April 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I expect we ain’t seen nuttin’ yet, Mary. When leftists realize how existential and imminent a threat Atlas Shrugged is to the mentality that enables their power, they’ll be on it like white on rice.

Firestorm ahead… with Øbama, his public sector unions, and MSM firing the kindling.

petefrt on April 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

/obvioustrollisobvious

elcapt on April 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

I think you’re on to something.

First of all, NO ONE read Atlas Shrugged in High School. I’ve been an avid reader since I was five years old, and I tried to read it in my late twenties, right after finishing The Fountainhead. I gave up after about 300 pages.

Finally read it last year and LOVED it. I know now what I didn’t know then.

Nice try on the troll’s part, though.

Naturally Curly on April 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Next month I’m driving from Florida to California and back…if I buy the audio version, maybe I’ll get halfway through it.

James on April 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

bitsy on April 17, 2011 at 3:41 PM

There’s no better model for a young woman, IMO, than Dagny Taggart. She’s HOT in the fullest sense of the word.

Ayn was no beauty queen. But her portrayal of Dagny (plus her other qualities) leads me to think she understands hotness… so she was probably hot too. :)

Heh, put differently, in a bar, I might not strike up a conversation with her. But if she struck up one with me, I’d be hers in about 15 minutes.

petefrt on April 17, 2011 at 7:12 PM

In reading back through the thread, do I detect the emergence of Ayn Rand trolls at HA?

Taking bets, how long before Rand trolls outnumber Palin trolls?

petefrt on April 17, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Believe me, this is a good movie. It is also dangerous to a large group of people in America, that is why the critics hate it. They don’t get it, they don’t understand it, and these kinds of ideas shouldn’t be allowed to succeed.

Full theater and applause at the end.

And I read the book in 8th grade, well the first time.

odannyboy on April 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Next month I’m driving from Florida to California and back…if I buy the audio version, maybe I’ll get halfway through it.

James on April 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Heh, you get halfway through it, and chances are you’ll take unpaid leave from work just to finish it.

petefrt on April 17, 2011 at 7:28 PM

James on April 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

For openers, buy the Edward Hermann narration. It’s abridged from 63 hours to 11 hours, and his narration brings the characters to life. Then read the book or listen to the unabridged version. There’s plenty in Atlas Shrugged to merit multiple readings.

petefrt on April 17, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Stating the obvious on the interstate highway system: it is “subsidised” by the government, which gets money from gas taxes. States get money from tolls and their own gas taxes.

So I guess you could say that, if $5 is taken from people in gas taxes and tolls, and then the government $5 funnels back into the road system, that there is a “subsidy” in place, but that doesn’t fit any normal definition of the word.

What the leftist whack-jobs are doing here is to conflate the normal operation of a system by taxing the people who use it, for it, with a system that cannot be maintained with the tax dollars collected from it.

Furthermore, even if the highway systems get subsidies that go beyond gas taxes and tolls (unlikely, and not proven on this thread yet), those subsidies come from people who use those systems – businesses, people, etc. Everyone uses or benefits from the interstate highway system (well, everyone who isn’t living on their own on a self-sustaining farm with no connection to the outside world). Those New Yorkers who feel like hot stuff for walking to work or using the Metro? Every morsel of food that they put in their mouths is moved via the interstate highway system (or by ship or by air). Businesses that ship goods? Interstate highway system, air, or boat.

The same cannot be said of high-speed rail. Subsidies for that involve every American paying into it for something that very few people use, and the only beneficiaries of it are the users of it.

Roxeanne de Luca on April 17, 2011 at 7:40 PM

I just got back from watching the movie at a theatre in Carmel, Indiana. Took my wife and I was sure she would not be happy with me later. To my surprise, she enjoyed the movie and is now wanting to read the novel.

It was a great movie and the premise of the novel played out well with an outstanding script and array of actors and actresses. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in individuality, the pursuit of personal wealth, and the least amount of government possible for the United States of America.

The movie is only playing on one screen, in one location near the city of Indianapolis. That would be in Carmel, Indiana…where most of the concentration of wealth resides in the metropolitan area of Indianapolis.

metroryder on April 17, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Trains run on oil too.

HTH.

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 3:29 PM

The Pennsylvania Railroad.

Note that one of the subplots of the movie is the present of a vast pool of oil in Colorado, and the attempts of the liberal lookalikes to prevent access to same.

unclesmrgol on April 17, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Roxeanne de Luca on April 17, 2011 at 7:40 PM

I think it just gets worse and worse. Every abuse of the system (like extortion with federal highway funds) begets worse abuses. We need to scale back on all of government’s influence, not just stop it in its [high-speed rail] tracks.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Addenda:

The federal government collects about $30 billion per year via the gas tax.

In addition to state-specific gas taxes and tolls, states and municipalities also collect funds from the sales tax of cars and trucks (each time they are sold, not just first sale), registration fees, excise taxes, the leases of plazas on highways, speeding tickets, other moving violations, parking tickets, and parking meters – just to name but a few sources of revenue.

So to compare the amount of money that is spent on highways, given the huge amount of money poured into the system, with high-speed rail, which lacks any sort of revenue source, is absurd.

Roxeanne de Luca on April 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Er, yeah. Problem is, every major form of transportation is subsidized with taxpayer dollars. Who do you think built the interstate highway system? Who do you think subsidizes airport construction and the air traffic control system?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:14 PM

You are talking about a world that did not need to be — one built by your political clones. Indeed, the reason for those subsidies are rooted in how the Transcontinental Railroad was built. As an incentive, the federal government gave to the railroads the rights of way, and every transit system has suckled at the federal teat ever since. The interstate system piggybacked on the defense budget — even though it didn’t need to. Previous highway systems were built by the states to serve their own purposes.

unclesmrgol on April 17, 2011 at 7:51 PM

The Pennsylvania Railroad.

Note that one of the subplots of the movie is the present of a vast pool of oil in Colorado, and the attempts of the liberal lookalikes to prevent access to same.

unclesmrgol on April 17, 2011 at 7:44 PM

My example earlier in the thread of diesel engines that drive electric generators is mostly applicable to freight trains. Most existing passenger rail systems of varying sizes run on third-rail (BART, I believe) or overhead (Amtrack ACCELERA) electrical systems.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Blah…I meant Amtrak Acela Express. I can type.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

One observation I haven’t seen elsewhere: the movie got a PG-13 rating, even though it has one very tame love scene and exactly two mid-level obscenities.
elcapt on April 17, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Maybe it’s because Dagny is so… HOT!

Libs hate Dagny like they hate Sarah and Michelle… and soon Nikki too. Libs hate strong, intelligent self-made women. For a woman to be accepted by libs, she must brand herself as a VICTIM.

petefrt on April 17, 2011 at 7:56 PM

locomotivebreath,

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, playing on 1849 screens

Atlas Shrugged, playing on 299 screens

Same amount of money…thus ‘Atlas Shrugged’ per screen average was over SIX TIMES higher.

Apples to apples, eh?

Justrand on April 17, 2011 at 8:07 PM

elcapt on April 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Well said, elcapt. Well said.

Solaratov on April 17, 2011 at 8:26 PM

We took the day off Friday, and saw it at a 4 p.m. showing, to a nearly packed theater. Demographics of attendees ranged from twentysomething hipsters, Gen Y, Gen X, etc. A very diverse cross-section of people. At the end of the film, people were clapping. We loved it. I hope that the American public gets it’s message. The crowd in the theater certainly did.

realitycheck on April 17, 2011 at 8:53 PM

First of all, NO ONE read Atlas Shrugged in High School. I’ve been an avid reader since I was five years old, and I tried to read it in my late twenties, right after finishing The Fountainhead. I gave up after about 300 pages.

Finally read it last year and LOVED it. I know now what I didn’t know then.

Nice try on the troll’s part, though.

Naturally Curly on April 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

I’m glad you loved it, but you’re wrong about “NO ONE” reading it in high school. I didn’t read it as a school assignment, I read it when my mom recommended it to me after she read it. I loved it then and can’t wait to reread it as soon as my son’s done reading it. He’s a senior in high school and also has no problem understanding the book.

Common Sense on April 17, 2011 at 8:58 PM

My example earlier in the thread of diesel engines that drive electric generators is mostly applicable to freight trains. Most existing passenger rail systems of varying sizes run on third-rail (BART, I believe) or overhead (Amtrack ACCELERA) electrical systems.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM

My point: As fixed track vehicles, railroads are ideally suited for operation using electricity, and that electricity can have origins in energy sources other than oil. There’s a very good reason for electromotive transport — electric motors are capable of developing full torque at zero RPMs — and it doesn’t matter whether the load borne is composed of passengers or of freight.

crr6′s question of high speed rail is a red herring. Implied in that question is whether one supports the Government dictating a Bullet Train to Nowhere, and I think we all (except crr6) can give that one a big Nooooo. There’s ample airline passenger service at present to service any place a Bullet Train to Nowhere can run at a far more rapid rate of travel than said train would be capable. If someone can make a business case for same, then by all means let them build it, and let’s see if they will come.

unclesmrgol on April 17, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Wow, that’s a new one. So you guys believe the government should no longer build and maintain roads?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Roads are maintained on money obtained via gasoline tax. I pay that tax when I buy gasoline to drive my vehicles on the road.

Comparing apples to apples… I have no problem with taxes being used to subsidize rail, IF those taxes are obtained by taxing the riders of that rail. But if I don’t ride, I shouldn’t pay any taxes towards it.

Of course, that would never work in the real world since it would make rail much more expensive than airplane flights, especially when you consider that for high speed rail to work it needs all new track so that high speed trains don’t get caught behind slow freight trains.

dominigan on April 17, 2011 at 9:22 PM

I couldn’t finish the book, and generally found her writing a hopeless slog. I don’t care. I admire her as a radical individualist. The movie is flawed but effective, and the culture needs this basic message.

Leaving aside Ayn Rand, there need to be more movies about business and capitalism and its essential connection to human freedom, prosperity and progress. The only movies about business over the past 30 years involve sinister corporate conspiracies .

rrpjr on April 17, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Just saw Atlas Shrugged Sunday evening, having not read the book for some 50 years (since my college days). I was pleasantly surprised at how good the movie is considering its budget limitations for such a complex story. This Part one will be, at least, a modest financial success, as the break-even point is around 30 million. I will look forward to Part II, which is due out in April 2012. And yes, Ed, the language of the scumbag villains in this film is right out of the 2011 Congress and White House!

John Adams on April 17, 2011 at 10:31 PM

A laughably skewed and dishonest write-up by Brandon Gray in Box Office Mojo. You’ll get whiplash from the spin in the first two paragraphs.

http://boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3143&p=.htm

He begins hilariously with the title “Atlas Shrugged Derails.”

Atlas Shrugged: Part I was the top-grossing limited release of the weekend, generating an estimated $1.7 million at 300 single-screen locations.

That’s right — the top grossing limited release “derailed.”

Then this.

For a pure independent release, Atlas Shrugged: Part I’s opening was fine. But for the first-ever adaptation of Ayn Rand’s influential mega-selling 1957 novel that had far more media hype than any other independent movie could dream of, it was disappointing.

“For a pure independent release, Atlas Shrugged’s opening was fine?” No, it was phenomenal. It had the third-highest per-screen average of all films. In fact, its per-screen figures were higher than Robert Redford’s new movie.

The writer obviously knows this. He also knows Atlas’s marketing was a pittance of Redford’s, but instead claims Atlas enjoyed a marketing campaign to “dream of.” Absurd. The film had zero media hype outside of its own targeted marketing. There was and still is nothing on Imdb about its opening. He says “it received plenty of general coverage as well.” Where?

He then goes out of his on to explain away and dismiss the per-screen-average boast as “spin” and a “common ploy” used by “boosters” of the film. Garbage. A per screen average is a legitimate, objective and industry-recognized measurement of a film’s appeal. It is what it is.

He insists that the producers need to prove and backup any claims of success, as if standard measurements of success do not apply to this movie. I’ve never heard such a comment or demand in any article about a movie’s box office. He even mentions why the movie was not successful — its “didactic” politics, which he associates with the tea party.

The corruption of the media is complete.

rrpjr on April 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM

As entertainment, however, the novel has its problems, and even the most determined reader can find getting through the book’s massive size a daunting and patience-testing task.

Personally. I found it easier to read than, say, War and Peace or The Agony and the Ecstasy, but that isn’t saying much.

That said, AS was a great book and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.

UltimateBob on April 17, 2011 at 10:36 PM

crr6′s question of high speed rail is a red herring. Implied in that question is whether one supports the Government dictating a Bullet Train to Nowhere, and I think we all (except crr6) can give that one a big Nooooo. There’s ample airline passenger service at present to service any place a Bullet Train to Nowhere can run at a far more rapid rate of travel than said train would be capable. If someone can make a business case for same, then by all means let them build it, and let’s see if they will come.

unclesmrgol on April 17, 2011 at 9:09 PM

I have a singular gift for digression, but you and I are genuinely on the same page here.

Crr6′s thesis is that since all transportation enjoys tax subsidies of some sort, high-speed rail should get them too, in order to be able to compete.

My thesis is that any industry, transportation or otherwise, that genuinely needs tax subsidies to exist, doesn’t deserve to exist. Tax subsidies? Get rid of them all. Everywhere. Permanently.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 10:55 PM

The corruption of the media is complete.

rrpjr on April 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Yes, indeed. And because of that, let me urge all HAers who have seen the film (‘cuz we don’t want to be dishonest dirty liars like our liberal brethren) to register at Rotten Tomatoes and other film review sites and give Atlas Shrugged an honest review.

Here’s mine:

Posted on 4/16/11 02:22 PM
Surprisingly good, considering the extremely short production time (26 shooting days, I heard). No big-name stars, but the acting was good, maybe a bit underplayed at times. Fine performances by Taylor Schilling (Dagny Taggart) and the very handsome Grant Bowler (Henry Rearden). Edi Gathegi (Eddie Willers) gave a very strong performance in a small but important part, and Graham Beckel (Ellis Wyatt) almost stole the movie!

Beautiful cinematography and very effective staging. The scenes of urban devastation in L.A. made me wince, and the train going over the beautiful (CGI) bridge made me cheer! (Quite a lot of this film is sheer heaven for engineering geeks…)

The storyline worked well and was true to the book’s spirit, even though a lot obviously had to be cut to make the film a reasonable length. Some in our party hadn’t read the book before seeing the film and yet had no trouble following the plot.

I will bet that a lot of the pro critics and RT reviewers who are trashing this movie never even bothered to see the whole thing. Hope the film does well enough to produce Parts II and III!

Go and do likewise! :-)

Mary in LA on April 17, 2011 at 10:57 PM

He even mentions why the movie was not successful — its “didactic” politics, which he associates with the tea party.

The corruption of the media is complete.

rrpjr on April 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Funny, I think, that this movie is so closely linked with the Tea Party, considering that the book was released several decades ahead of the Tea Party phenomenon.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 10:57 PM

I just got back from the 705 showing here in Rocket City. About, a little over half full (which I think must be good for a Sunday evening) and it was the biggest crowd at any of the movies here. The audience clapped very loudly at the end.

For me, visually stunning. Very sophisicated film-work. And I think very true to Rand. The actors were good. Dagny and Hank are both great. The others are great support. I’ll cross my fingers and hope it gets Americas attention and they make enough money to continue.

On a side note, I’d have to read again, but I thought Dagny and Wyatt had a pretty good understanding of each other from their first meeting. Wyatt seemed to hold her as responsible as Jim when they first met in the movie.

Does anyone else recall?

hawkdriver on April 17, 2011 at 10:58 PM

One thing I think everyone would have to agree on. The movie portrayed the snobby, condescending, guilt-ridden idle rich to a tee. Hank’s family compared to him, is exactly what the book described.

hawkdriver on April 17, 2011 at 11:08 PM

“The interstate system piggybacked on the defense budget — even though it didn’t need to. Previous highway systems were built by the states to serve their own purposes”

President Eisenhower, while not one of the very greatest Presidents, was never-the-less a genius at organization and management. That is why he was noticed a few years before the War by the brilliant Chief of Staff, George Marshall, who promoted him from Lieutenant-Colonel to four-star General faster than any officer in the history of our country (later to be promoted to five-star General of the Army).

Having seen the amazing military logistical and organizational advantage provided to the mighty Wehrmacht by the incredible Autobahn (superhighway) System which the Krauts built before the War, General Eisenhower was determined to create such a defensive system for the U.S. He did, God bless him! Such a system had to be coordinated by overall military planning, but the States had great input and actually supervised construction in their respective States, using Federal defense funds. It was all on the up and up. And by the way, driving long distances in the 1950’s before the Interstate System was a complete nightmare! Finally, let it be noted, the great Interstate System completely modernized and revolutionized the U.S. economy. The author of the opening quoted statement is an intellectual pigmy of the first order!

John Adams on April 17, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Having seen the amazing military logistical and organizational advantage provided to the mighty Wehrmacht by the incredible Autobahn (superhighway) System which the Krauts built before the War, General Eisenhower was determined to create such a defensive system for the U.S. He did, God bless him! Such a system had to be coordinated by overall military planning, but the States had great input and actually supervised construction in their respective States, using Federal defense funds. It was all on the up and up. And by the way, driving long distances in the 1950’s before the Interstate System was a complete nightmare! Finally, let it be noted, the great Interstate System completely modernized and revolutionized the U.S. economy. The author of the opening quoted statement is an intellectual pigmy of the first order!

John Adams on April 17, 2011 at 11:44 PM

The constitution gives the federal government authority to establish post roads. As I alluded to earlier in this post, I think we’re long past the time that the federal government can stop paying for those roads, especially when funds involved are used as a blackmail and extortion tool to force states to follow laws that are clearly unconstitutional.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 11:55 PM

The movie misses the opportunity to drive home the importance of protecting those industries central to the growth of the US economy. Back when the book was written, one could viably look to railroads as filling that role. The movie should have picked another industry that continues to play a central, dynamic role to economic growth. Certainly that’s not railroads.

bayam on April 17, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Not a chance when solar and other alternative energy sources continue to gain in efficiencies- not to mention the new discoveries of natural gas reserves throughout the country. People will drive electric cars powered indirectly by natural gas or solar farms in the desert. American dominance in hi tech will eventually transform energy.

bayam on April 17, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Last I checked, it takes something like a tablespoon of oil to move a pound of fruit/produce/whatever, by rail, across the country. It is extremely energy-efficient, which is why the movie producers (one of whom manufacturers exercise equipment and probably is familiar with shipping rates!) used $37.50/gallon gasoline as a reason why rail travel was so important.

Clearly, the big thing that the movie writers and producers missed was that some people who saw it would be total morons, who would blame the movie for the fact that they don’t operate on all cylinders.

Roxeanne de Luca on April 17, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Roxeanne, you were a prophet even as you were writing, and just didn’t know it.

ebrown2 on April 18, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Soooooo…do you guys support high speed rail?

crr6 on April 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM

As just one means and not at the exclusion of all other.

See France. Just because they have high speed rail doesn’t mean that they don’t produce nuclear power for most of Europe.

You are way too narrowly focused in your smart-allecky attitude. It will hurt you in life.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2011 at 5:04 PM

To paraphrase Dr. Johnson:

She makes herself a beast, to avoid the pain of being human.

ebrown2 on April 18, 2011 at 1:25 AM

2:05 pm matinee, Sunday afternoon, 2/3-3/4 full theater, Reno, NV, everyone applauded at the end. My wife and I drove 80 miles, each way there and back, to see it, and were not disappointed. I’ve read the book twice, my wife has not read it at all. She still got the message and enjoyed the film. Says she can’t wait to see parts 2&3, but the book still intimidates her a bit.

Could have been a bit more character and background development, but there’s a lot of book to put up on the screen. I agree that this film is a threat to statists.

As for crr6′s question regarding high-speed rail: apples and oranges. The efficiencies for rail transport are applicable for freight. The ostensible purpose of high-speed rail is for transporting people. Freight transport needs neither high speed, nor subsidies.

LooseCannon on April 18, 2011 at 2:32 AM

The simpler story/object lesson that the troll can’t avoid is that the book and movie represent the phenomena of a production class tired of handing over every fruit of their labor to an institutional needy class. The country sees the truth in Rand’s book today.

hawkdriver on April 18, 2011 at 6:32 AM

Thank you Ed. It’s articles like these that reaffirm my decision to make Hot Air my number one source of news and analysis.

elfman on April 18, 2011 at 7:48 AM

locomotivebreath1901 on April 17, 2011 at 6:37 PM

I’ll agree with you on one point. Devoid of faith. Sadly, the only piece of totalitarian Communism which Rand brought out with her when she fled Russia was the atheism. She saw the corruption and hypocrisy of a “church” which served the Mother State, and concluded that all religion was worthless mysticism. About this, and this alone, she could not have been more wrong.

However, that is the smallest point of her works. You ask for altruism, but you would not recognize it if it ran you over. Hank Reardon is as altruistic as any person featured in fact or fiction. He did what he knew that he and nobody else could do. He did what he believed to be right. The result of doing so was the magnified benefit to all of society through his genius. Does it matter that his mission was to EARN money? Who cares why he created something that makes everyone’s life better, only that he did.

But that is one of the very points that liberals cannot perceive. It is the difference between Reardon and Jimmy Taggart, or Wesley Mouch, or any of the other leeches. Reardon wanted to EARN money, the others just wanted to GET money. It is the producers versus the looters. When the looters win, everyone loses. When the producers win, everyone wins. But the looters know they have to win the war of words, because they have nothing else. So they villify the producer, and magnify themselves as the compassionate ones, as the caring ones. Have you seen this happening recently? Yes, you have.

Check your premises.

Freelancer on April 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM

hmmm, did the system eat my comment? or did I wind up in moderation?

TASS71 on April 18, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Freelancer on April 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Well stated.

catmman on April 18, 2011 at 8:34 AM

I am reading the book now on Kindle. I am at the 60% mark. I saw the Movie Friday with my wife. She has not read the book and knew little about what to expect. She came out of the theater (for lack of a better word) “Enlightened”. She now wants to read the book to find out what happens next. What did surprise me at the end, about 75% of the people in the theater simultaneously cheered and applauded. My take, Well worth seeing.

Guest1.1 on April 18, 2011 at 8:54 AM

I have to agree completely! I am reading the book and it is a hard read. In fact I just skimmed the chapter that was the love story between Dagny and Francisco. I went into the theatre expecting a bust and a waste of the night. I found myself happier as it went on.

There were a few cheap scenes, namely the newscasts. They didn’t even look remotely real. Especially after they got off the train of the John Galt Line’s maiden voyage. Wyatt said something that people in the bar could hear, which should be next to impossible considering how far away the camera was and everything else considered. Other than that, it didn’t look that low-budget.

jeffn21 on April 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM

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