(Short review. Longer one will come when I’ve seen it a few more times).
I went to go see Atlas Shrugged Part I with The Snark Who Hunts Back last night. Loved it.
But so I need to deal with the Atlas Shrugged Part I on two different fronts: As a film and as bringing the ideas of the book to the silver screen.
As a film it has some problems. The score kind of sucks. The cinematography is certainly not going to win any awards, and there are some directing calls that clearly show this to be the director’s first major motion picture. Of course when you figure that Hollywood seemed to be out to make sure this movie did not get made, what we got was quite impressive. And none of these flaws were great enough to detract from the quality of the story, the characters and the ideas.
When viewed as a vehicle for the book, I could not be more pleased. I laughed, I applauded, I grinned like an idiot in delight throughout most the movie. It has been nearly 17 years since I first read this book, and this is the movie I have been waiting those 17 years to see. Not only did it convey the ideas so beautifully well (yes, it did not always articulate them as well as the book, but film has always been the art form for an overview of an idea, never for lengthy discussion) but it made up for many of the flaws of style in Rand’s writing.
Characters are no longer Rand’s rather one dimensional cardboard cut outs, they’re human. Dagny and Hank trade sarcastic quips. They have fun, they celebrate their success and know how to love life (unlike the rather placid celebratory dinner shown in the book). These were not only representations of ideas that I could admire, the characters in the film were people I could love.
And the ideas come through clearly. You can see how we could get to that point, and you can hear the evil familiarity in the words of the do gooders. There are points at the beginning where you’re not sure if the information wasn’t just taken straight from real news reports.
Was it perfect? No. But I was happy. Twenty years from now would I like to see it remade with a better budget and better director? Yes. But for now I want to see it again (I will be surprised if I see it less than 3 times on the big screen) and can’t wait for Parts II and III.
You MUST go see this movie.