That’s the approach that the director took with Atlas Shrugged–the screener I was sent was merely for Part I. I wish I could report that the movie holds out the same kind of promise that the first Lord of the Rings movie did. Unfortunately, it’s . . . how do I say this . . . an incoherent mess that put me less in mind of Peter Jackson than Tommy Wisseau. It was a huge mistake to watch it on a laptop; I spent the entire time fighting a nearly overpowering urge to check my email.

I know that some Rand fans who like the movie are going to accuse me of sucking up to my liberal cocktail-party attending friends by unfairly slamming a damn fine film. The sad truth is that I don’t attend that many cocktail parties–certainly not as many as the people in this film. Ayn Rand’s characters are already so understated as to be nearly wooden–her sensibility was heavily influenced by the “strong but silent” aesthetic of the penny adventure serials of her youth. And in the hands of these actors, they’re practically petrified. In lieu of emotions, the entire cast seems to have turned to drink. Half the action takes place over a glass of wine or a tumbler of whiskey. I suppose this is what you have to expect from a roomful of rigid, controlling people who have difficulty speaking about any emotions that don’t involve metallurgical studies.