Atlas Shrugged: Part 1

Rated PG-13 102 min. 2011

Here’s the catch: However much I dislike Ayn Rand’s philosophy, I think both she and her book deserve better than this wretched bottom-of-the-barrel, clunky, frequently silly, dubiously-acted, barely directed TV movie-level creation. Or more correctly, one-third of one, since this is only part one of a proposed trilogy. The movie more or less follows the first third of the book. The year is 2016 and the U.S. is in dystopian shambles, owing to government interference and the apparent insistence of workers demanding a living wage. The Middle East is unstable, gas is $37.50 a gallon, and the railroad is once again king of transport and travel. Most of this is the movie trying to explain why it’s about something as old-fashioned as railroads. Railroads are where it’s at in Atlasland — especially Taggart Transcontinental, a once mighty giant of the rails, now reduced to a shabby shadow of itself by evil government machinations and the spineless inheritor of the line, James Taggart (Matthew Marsden). But his hard-as-nails sister Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling), with the help of stand-up industrialist Henry Reardon, is determined to save the day despite the fact that the world’s great minds (like bankers) keep disappearing, leaving us all flopping around like landed fish in our collective mediocrity, while everyone helplessly asks, “Who is John Galt?” Of course, these movers and shakers are being wooed away by the not-quite-mythical Galt (played by the director), who dresses like McGruff the Crime Dog and stands in the shadows trying to sound like Clint Eastwood as he offers to take them where they’ll be appreciated. Yes, it’s that silly and that subtle, and, worse, it’s dull. Ayn Rand was many things, but boring and ordinary weren’t among them.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Paul Johansson

Writer: Ayn Rand

Producer: Harmon Kaslow

Cast: Taylor Schilling, Edi Gathegi, Paul Johansson, Michael O'Keefe, Matthew Marsden, Michael Lerner and Geoff Pierson

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