This movie has been optioned numerous times for the last 40 years or so but never filmed before now. No large studio wanted to take on the project because of the political subject matter of which most of them disapprove and the big budget needed to bring a story this long and involved to fruition.
So does it work? Who is John Galt? Again, this story assumes you know what’s going on and have a familiarity with the novel. Otherwise count on at least 30 minutes of getting all caught up.
Although made on a relatively low budget estimated to be between $15 and $20 million, the film looks amazingly rich with lush backgrounds. The computer-generated effects are remarkable. They do not involve anyone shooting at or chasing anyone else. There is no slasher at work and Will Ferrell is not on hand hamming it up. The only laughs are those that happen due to the inescapable irony of the government shenanigans as they try to exercise control of the American populace especially the most innovative among us. The cast of mostly unknowns are all excellent. The actor playing John Galt is also the film’s director. The character of John Galt is only seen minimally and always with the face hidden. He will emerge as the series continues.
This is a movie that could make a big splash at the box office. Its original opening was not in every state and only consisted of screenings in 300 theaters. By contrast the two big movies of the weekend “Rio” the kiddy computer generated comedy and “Scream 4” — an attempt to make more money by carving up teens — both opened in over 3,000 theaters each. ASP1 is looking to find an audience an expand its showings. The other two are trying to make a quick big bucks return and return again, in one case as “Rio 2” and the other “Scream 5”. I am hoping for Atlas Shrugged 2 and 3 to make it over the next two years as the filmmakers have planned. Maybe a combination of the Rio and Scream storylines would be interesting. They could call it “Screaming Rio” followed by “Screaming Rio 2”.
This is a compelling film and many of the financial, social and political events Ayn Rand predicted in 1957 and shown in this film are taking place today. If you are wavering at checking it out, please don’t. There is one scene near the end of the film which features a train ride and utilizing Elias Cmiral’s fine score and theme this one scene has an emotional impact and exhilaration that is worth the cost of admission alone.
Rated 3.5 out of 4 reasons that unless you have read Atlas Shrugged you may have to wait two more years for the answer to the question “Who is John Galt?” If you can’t wait here is a simple answer. He is a hero.