When I was in my early twenties, one of my aunts recommended the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged to me. It illuminated my life: it clarified my place in the world, and the power of one’s mind and of productive energy.
On 15 April. a movie version of the first part of the novel was released. I finally got around to seeing it today. It’s a little strange: it’s playing at a regular theatre, not an art house, but there is very little publicity about it: no newspaper ads, no TV commercials, not even a poster in the lobby. In fact, if I hadn’t been for some random Web surfing a couple of weeks ago, I would have missed it.
It’s not spectacular: the production is clearly constrained by its budget, and in the interest of not making it too ‘talky,’ some of the wit in the original dialogues was dropped. But it’s a good telling of the story, with solid performances. I went today with my son, and will take my wife to see it next weekend, if it’s still open.
The popular perception of the movie is heavily politicized, but both sides are wrong. Liberals see Ayn Rand as vaguely evil, with her warnings against altruism. But it’s not that she didn’t believe in charity: it’s that she didn’t believe that it was the government’s job to subsidize people out of poverty. And conservatives praise her as an apostle of free-market economics, which is true, but she was a champion of free enterprise without government help, which is very different from what passes for capitalism today.
In any case, it’s a good picture. I enjoyed it, and look forward to Part II.