Bringing a book to the screen is always a difficult task, especially so for a 1200 page, deeply philosophical book. A 10 hour miniseries would have been a better vehicle for Atlas Shrugged than three movies to be released a year apart, but that is what we have.
Still, it is good to see the story told on the screen. I saw it last week at the Naro theater in Norfolk, and it is playing there at least the rest of this week.
Many who have read the book will be disappointed as it is not possible to convey the soul-searching of the characters without a lot of narration, which kills a movie. Many who have not read the book won’t get it, because that soul-searching and realization that many of our basic premises of society are wrong and destructive is key to the experience.
But the movie does introduce the concept that it is the able who make life comfortable for the rest of us, and that when we loot their earnings ‘for the greater good,’ it does not only cause resentment of those preyed upon for their parasites, it also requires the moochers and looters to dehumanize and demonize the very people who make their comfortable lives possible.
The movie alone is adequate to make those who have not read the book question their premises, but it will not be life changing, as reading Atlas Shrugged has been for so many of us. But perhaps it will serve as a trailer for the book, bringing many to make the effort necessary to read the whole book and see the terrible path we are taking toward collapse.
And if enough people read the book, perhaps we can turn away from that path.