Skip to comments.David Kelley Reviews Atlas Shrugged Part 1
Posted on 02/25/2011 8:04:05 AM PST by Ed Hudgins
Midas Mulligan, says the shadowy figure who accosts the prominent banker in Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged.
Someone who knows what its like to work for himself and not let others feed off the profits of his energy.
So begins Atlas Shrugged Part I, the independent adaptation by The Strike Productions, scheduled for theatrical release April 15, 2011.
The skeptics are wrong.
Ever since the project launched last April, skeptics have wondered how a film with a limited budget of $10 million, rushed production schedule, and lack of big-name talent could possibly do justice to the novel. Over a thousand pages long, with an intricate plot, epic scope, multi-layered mystery, a hero who does not appear until the final third of the story, and a complex philosophical theme, Atlas Shrugged has posed an insurmountable challenge to film-makers. The streets of Hollywood are littered with the ashes of prior efforts, some with much larger budgets.
The skeptics are wrong. The completed film was shown today for the first time in a private screening. It is simply beautiful. With a screenplay faithful to the narrative and message of the novel, the adaptation is lushly produced. The acting, cinematography, and score create a powerful experience of the story.
This film is going to turbocharge the debate over Rands vision of capitalism as a moral ideal.
Taylor Schilling is riveting as Dagny Taggart, the woman who manages the Taggart Transcontinental rail system with intelligence and courage while fighting interference from the president of the company, her incompetent brother James (Matthew Marsden), and his political cronies. Schilling is well-matched with Grant Bowler as steel-maker Hank Rearden. As the story opens, Rearden has just started producing a new alloy he invented; and Dagny is his first customer
(Excerpt) Read more at atlassociety.org ...
Nice to read—the trailer looked great.
I’ve seen the scenes that have been posted. I like the fact that the actors are no-name. Famous actors would have carried to much baggage into the film. I think the actress playing Dagney has pulled it off (again, based just on what little I’ve seen).
The combination of art deco and modern decor I think strikes the right balance for a book that was written in the late 40s but which speaks to conditions as they are today.
Can’t wait to see it.
I picked up another copy of the novel over the weekend, and am reading it on my commute to and from work. The sheer volume of the book has been noticed by people who ride the bus with me, and I'm getting questions about the book.
As much as I enjoyed Atlas the first time through, the second reading has been even better.
I can't wait to wear my "Galt's Gulch, CO" emblazoned polo shirt to work next week. I am expecting numerous quizical looks and being asked "where in Colorado is Galt's Gulch?"
I’m wondering if they didn’t start too far. And how the heck do they capture the relationships between Franconia, Dagny, and Rearden, among others? But from what I’ve seen of the trailer, it sure looks promising.
I read Atlas Shrugged in 1980, but wasn’t the opening line in the novel “Who is John Galt?” ? I’m going to have to dust off that copy and re-read it before April 15 - and I’ve seen the trailers (2) and they look great! It looks like it the screen writer and director have stayed true to Rand’s message.
I watched a clip last night on youtube, where Rearden presents Lillian with the bracelet, and Rearden’s brother asks for an anonymous handout for his progressive buddies who don’t want Rearden’s contribution public.
Call your local theater, ask them if they’ll be showing it. Otherwise, plan on a long drive. :(
Thanks for posting. I haven’t been to a theater in many years, but I’ll definitely see this one.
>>I’m also prepping my 9 YO son on the overall theme of Atlas Shrugged. <<
I bought the Spark Notes for the book.
I’m not happy with the sexual escapades of Dagney. I know that Rand thought this was important, I don’t.
The books message, otherwise, is too important for students to miss. We will see the movie. I will watch it on the internet first so I know how to present the sex in it.
I’ve seen the trailers and have been reading about Atlas Shrugged from FReepers. I haven’t read the book but looking forward to seeing this film very much. It looks like a well produced movie and very ‘gripping’.
I thought we had the book posted here but it was only a synopsis of each chapter and then discussion so I’m hoping the local library has it.
One thing that will make life easier for the director and cast is that very often the novel reads like a screenplay because Rand was a highly competent screenwriter, good enough to be hired by several big-name directors to clean up other writers’ scripts. There are downsides to that - it proved very cumbersome to craft a philosophical manifesto in those terms, which is why Galt’s speech comes across as artificially interminable. But the rest of it should translate nicely. Looking forward to it.
Hollywood is not supporting this project.
Lots of big-name actors and producers over the years have tried to make Atlas, but either they couldn’t get the rights to the book or couldn’t get the studio to greenlight it. Every actress in Hollywood was interested in playing Dagney Taggart.
So now here come a bunch of outsiders throwing away a choice role on some no-name, as well as making a very political film of the stripe Hollywood reserves the right to tell everyone what the party line is. How dare they?
I’m guessing they’re going to have trouble finding distribution — getting and keeping their film in theaters, along with necessary advertising. No award nominations. No interviews on morning chat shows.
It isn’t enough that this film be good. It has to be amazing to have a chance.
I wish the producers all the luck in the world, and I can’t wait to see it.
When it comes to cinema romance, he's a normal boy...he goes "Ewwwwwwwwww!", and covers his eyes until I advise him it's over. LOL!
I predict it will achieve similar success to “Passion of the Christ”, and will make enough money to fund more generous budgets for parts 2 & 3.
Sounds like it will be a great movie.
I bet we’ll have lazy loafers protesting it in Wisconsin...
Okay...now I’m excited!
Check out Publius and Billthedrill's threads when they ran the FReeper Bookclub on AS. Great discussion.
lol..yeah, I’ve heard it’s 1000 or more pages. Too bad I didn’t enroll in the evelyn woods speed reading course when that was all the rage.
From the review: The film does a credible job of portraying visually the world of Atlas Shrugged. Rand created a world in decline. Buildings and machinery are in disrepair, things break and dont get fixed, businesses close. The economy is in a state of severe depression, and there is a depression of the spirit, too, a mood of despair, futility, and resignation captured in a popular expression: Who is John Galt? “
So, thety filmed the movie on location in Youngstown and Detroit?
FReeper Book Club: Introduction to Atlas Shrugged
Part I, Chapter I: The Theme
Part I, Chapter II: The Chain
Part I, Chapter III: The Top and the Bottom
Part I, Chapter IV: The Immovable Movers
Part I, Chapter V: The Climax of the dAnconias
Part I, Chapter VI: The Non-Commercial
Part I, Chapter VII: The Exploiters and the Exploited
Part I, Chapter VIII: The John Galt Line
Part I, Chapter IX: The Sacred and the Profane
Part I, Chapter X: Wyatts Torch
Part II, Chapter I: The Man Who Belonged on Earth
Part II, Chapter II: The Aristocracy of Pull
Part II, Chapter III: White Blackmail
Part II, Chapter IV: The Sanction of the Victim
Part II, Chapter V: Account Overdrawn
Part II, Chapter VI: Miracle Metal
Part II, Chapter VII: The Moratorium on Brains
Part II, Chapter VIII: By Our Love
Part II, Chapter IX: The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt
Part II, Chapter X: The Sign of the Dollar
Part III, Chapter I: Atlantis
Part III, Chapter II: The Utopia of Greed
Part III, Chapter III: Anti-Greed
Part III, Chapter IV: Anti-Life
Part III, Chapter V: Their Brothers Keepers
Part III, Chapter VI: The Concerto of Deliverance
Part III, Chapter VII: This is John Galt Speaking
Part III, Chapter VIII: The Egoist
Part III, Chapter IX: The Generator
Part III, Chapter X: In the Name of the Best Within Us
Make sure you look for Billthedrill’s comments as you go through the threads. I don’t think he started posting until the second or third thread, but his comments and analysis are great... as are Pub’s.
In that case, you don't get Rand at all. To understand her views on sex, is to undersant that she's a fraud.
Sex shows up in all of her novels, and it's very revealing.
Sex, in her world, was a central theme, and it was central to her philosophy.
If you read her stuff, you'll find that sex is discussed quite frankly in transactional terms: it's essentially a business deal.
Interestingly, despite its supposedly transactional nature, when Rand wrote about "good" sex, it was often violent to the point of rape; the more "perfect" her man, the more violent the scene. The woman enjoyed being physically conquered, and being left bruised and even bloodied by the act; and the men became animals. Howard Roarke raped Dominique Francon; and John Galt as good as raped Dagny Taggart.
And then there's the biggest problem with Rand's views on sex -- and the most obvious evidence that she was an outright fraud.
Sex, to Rand, had nothing to do with its obvious biological function. It was, to her, a mind-to-mind thing, best shared between moral and intellectual equals. (Thus, she openly cuckholded her husband on the grounds that young Nathaniel Brandon was her only philosophical and mental equal, and therefore her only acceptable sexual partner.)
Children simply do not enter into it -- nor can they, because the her philosophy is unable to withstand the moral implications of children and parenthood.
Consider: to Rand, "manevery manis an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself."
So much for the obvious moral requirement imposed on parents by their children.
And thus it is not at all surprising that Rand was apparently strongly pro-abortion. She apparently understood the danger that children posed to her ideas: we are, after all, quite literally the means to their ends. And so she responded by supporting a woman's right to kill them in utero, rather than unwillingly accept the moral consequences of their birth.
“The combination of art deco and modern decor I think strikes the right balance for a book that was written in the late 40s but which speaks to conditions as they are today.”
I too love the notion of a futuristic world setting with atavistic throwbacks to the past. Putting the film into this ficitonal future allows some of the environment to be updated, thereby making the film more relevant to today’s events.
A similar environment worked effectively in “Brazil” and a similar idea was used in the 1995 film “Richard III”, the classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king which the film staged in an alternative fascist England setting, though in this case the “future” that Richard III was set in was still the past for us.
OK, I think we’re going to have to do a bit of leg work to get this movie into the theaters.
Our major theater chain in the Denver metro area is AMC. They have a policy of allocating a few of their smaller theaters to give independent films a chance.
I called AMC at:
Kansas City, Kansas
I was directed to a pleasant woman named Andra and had a very nice chat with her about Atlas Shrugged, which she had naturally never heard of before. (Now she has.) I explained that the film was based on a very famous and controversial novel by a very famous and controversial author, and that if the film was any good at all that it had a built-in audience and that if it was really good it might even be a surprise hit.
I think she was interested in my call, and she was willing to hear from other people. She also directed me specifically to the programming manager for my AMC region (Rocky Mountain), giving me her name and number, and I’ll definitively be calling her Monday.
I encourage each and every one of you to call the corporate headquarters of AMC or other big theater chain and engage them in a friendly and informative conversation about the wisdom of giving Atlas Shrugged a chance in a local theater.
“I predict it will achieve similar success to ‘Passion of the Christ.’”
Again, I wish them all the luck in the world, but POC had Mel Gibson directing, backing, pushing and doing talk shows — back when he was still Mel Gibson, one of the biggest movie stars in the world, not persona non grata.
I probably need to tamp down my enthusiasm. With Fox and talk radio talking it up, who’s to say that won’t drum up enthusiasm to reach $50M at the box office?
I cannot wait now! It sounds like it does the book justice. And those stills are nothing short of gorgeous with even the backgrounds in focus, which really gives the shots dimension. And did you notice all the rich sepia colors that permeated the individual frames? I can tell that this one is going to be a visual feast. Will the movie open in all the major cities, I wonder?
Unfortunately, the filmmakers are self-distributing it and it looks like their marketing and distribution are on an extreme shoestring budget. There was another thread where the filmmakers were asking people to contact their local movie theaters and respond on the filmmaker’s website to let them know the names of theaters and theater managers who had been contacted so they could follow up. The website URL was completely wrong. Then they started a new website with a twitter feed asking people to use something called “demand it” to let theaters know how many people in various cities were requesting the film. Unfortunately, their “demand it” link did not work. Real small time stuff. I’m guessing we’ll be forced to wait for video. But, given the way they’re screwing up their marketing, it’ll probably go to video pretty quickly after release. Sad.
That is too bad. I sure would like to see it on the big screen.