David Kelley of The Atlas Society was at yesterday's world premier pre-screening of Atlas Shrugged Part I (as were several Reasoners, me included). So????
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.
Taylor Schilling is riveting as Dagny Taggart [...]
For over half a century, Rand's novel has been a lightning rod for controversy. It has attracted millions of devoted fans—and legions of hostile critics. A poor adaptation could be ignored by both sides. This adaptation can't be ignored. It is way too good. It is going to turbocharge the debate over Rand’s vision of capitalism as a moral ideal. Whether you love the novel or hate it, Atlas Shrugged Part I is a must-see film.
Kelley does inject a mild lament about the non-gravitas of the Galt scenes, which I would second and even third.
My five-word movie review as someone who hasn't read the book is that lovers, haters will both enjoy (for different reasons, obviously). You cared about the story and the protagonists, the look and sound were mostly (and surprisingly) handsome, Dagny in particular and Hank were good, and there are some pretty awesome capitalism, bitches!-style moments. Felt a bit like they were speeding through the material, and so characters (and ever-present cable news shows that cared deeply about the construction of rail lines) did a lot of heavy expositional lifting that didn't much resemble dialogue or news broadcasts. The bad guys sometimes seemed cartoonishly venal rather than arriving at their badness through some sort of logic. I didn't really understand why Dagny put up with her no-good brother for even one second.
Every Shrugged reader I talked to yesterday said that the adaptation was pretty dang faithful to the source material, and I didn't see a single thumb down. I'm sure Brian Doherty, who has a great feature on the making-of in the forthcoming May issue of Reason, will have some thoughts on it later.
ReasonTV behind the scenes below.