Review: “Atlas Shrugged”

Simon Theory’s 1-Line Review: A misguided devotion to ideology mixed with writing undeserving of a “Modern Classic” adaptation, this film is as tedious to watch as it is to listen to the ideologues defend it.

Rating: Wait until Cable and watch it once just to understand why they didn’t make Parts 2 & 3.

I was anxious to see this flick, but not too anxious. The trailer had me riveted, but the endless negative press had me skeptical. Either way, if there was anything to like about this flick, I was definitely in the right frame of mind to discover it.

(pretty good trailer, right?)

The Good: The cinematography was professional and sometimes elegant with some gorgeous landscape shots transitioning locations. Most importantly, the “Who is John Galt” mystery was fantastically intriguing harkening back to the good ‘ol days of “Who is Keyser Sose”. If anything bought my ticket to the future Parts 2 & 3, it’s that. And they cast the film as best they could on a lower-scale budget. I also found it funny how douchey the Liberals and “Government Fat Cats” were in this flick. Incredibly 1 dimensional and as unabashedly biased as Fox News, but still comically amusing warranting several LOL’s. I honestly wanted to punch one of them for having the nerve to beg for a handout (as all Liberals apparently do), then telling CEO Reardon not to put his name on the check. Like I said: Douche.

The Bad: OK. I could deal with the film hammering its ideology down my throat, but I couldn’t handle the hypocrisy in which it did or the “set ’em up, knock ’em down” debates clearly written by a fan of Libertarianism as opposed to a fan of dialogue…or drama. I could deal with a character-driven, expositional dialogue free-for-all, carefully constructed drama where nothing much actually happens, but I couldn’t deal with some of the most repetitious dialogue I’ve ever heard and I’M NOT talking about the “Who is John Galt” line. Im talking about the “Reardon Steel is the best” recited 50 times, the “no one uses Reardon Metal”, the “I will not let them stop me”, and of course the many machinations of “I work hard” over and over again acting as the character’s mantra so you sympathize with rich people being persecuted.

In fact, I could deal with rich people being persecuted. Competition of any kind makes for good drama. But I couldn’t deal with 2 protagonists who, quite literally, have nothing but contempt for everybody in the film while playing themselves off as victims. Plus, because the two CEOs are so proud of how hard they work (as any free-market Capitalist would have you believe is the case), they end up being the only 2 CEOs in the world who do all the traveling, make all their own arrangements, handle all their own logistics, know all their own science, take all their own meetings, and handle all their own investigating. And the Tea Party will have you believe that this is how all Fortune 500 CEOs run their companies.

I could deal with a useless, talentless, failed actor now trying his hand at being a failed Director. He could get lucky. Plus I always look forward to an actor behind the camera with a unique insight into the actor’s craft. But I couldn’t deal with an actor-director not concentrating on the acting. There were only 2 plausible relationships (emotional exchange between characters, not romantic interest) in the whole film: I believed Dagney and Reardon had a mutual respect for each other and I believe Dagney and her brother hated each other. Every other relationship was utter bullshit sloppily handled by a bad actor/director. And forget about creating legitimate opposition for the Protagonists. They must have missed that acting class where you’re taught that creating identifiable villains make them that much more dangerous and formidable. I’m done.


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