Yes, so I did catch Atlas Shrugged when I went down to see Machine Gun Preacher. I figured it would make an interesting double bill.
Atlas Shrugged didn’t surprise me at all. The film has very mediocre acting and very two-dimensional scripting. Lots of speeches, which works sometimes, but seems a little to contrived most of the time.
But, there is little doubt that the movie is intended to be a vehicle for the spread of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. The attempt to make the philosophy relevant to modern times is just a little too obvious. The problem is that Rand’s heroes are stereotypes that don’t exist. The movie wants us to think that business if full of noble businessmen who value their contribution to society even though they admit to only being in for the money. The noble, selfish capitalist. the reality is that nobility is in short supply among businessmen and financier. Their brand of selfish capitalism is far from noble and many would stab their own grandmothers in the back if it increased profits. Just look at the events of the past four years, where Greenspan himself lamented at the apparent inability of finance to act not only in the best interest of society, but even in their own best interest. The noble businessmen who do exist, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, all seem to fall outside the mold that Rand and her Tea Party cheerleaders would like to make us believe.
Similarly, the bad guys in the movie, passing government bills to stifle competition, don’t really exist either -or at least not the way they are depicted here. The movie would have us believe that the only function of government regulation of business is to produce a playing field that would benefit the no-good slackers out there, all of whom just happen to have left wing ideas. Canada proves that government regulation and restrictions on business and finance pays off. It’s what allowed us to weather the mess made by greedy opportunists in the U.S. system.
Atlas Shrugged is interesting if, for no other reason, it allows us a glimpse into the conveluted minds of neo-conservatives. They really do believe that this accurately reflects the world.
I would give this movie a C-.