Monday, May 16, 2011

Atlas Shrugged (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
Atlas Shrugged

     What behemoths of boredom has the singular energy of Ayn Rand wrought? The most recent ball and chain is the film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, a movie so laughable in its charmlessness it almost turns projected tedium into a genre.
     "Atlas Shrugged" the movie, might do better as a videogame on Xbox, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Indeed, one glance at the overbearing dim cinematography and you might think that it Is a video game. But for now, this movie version stars Taylor Schilling as a Randian "Barbie",  and Grant Bowler as a  Ken-inspired  Hank Rearden. These characters have about as much depth as tissue paper. The dialogue is soporific. Or is it soaperific? 
The plot concerns an under-the-gun railroad tycoon, Dagny Taggart and a block of Ayn Rand machismo, the robotic metal engineer Rearden. But the action is so devoid of pacing that the plot becomes depressingly irrelevant, when I had hoped for irreverent. The narrative was so heavy and thin, I felt  I was watching Vic Sarin's "Left Behind". The entire movie felt pre-formed, too artificial  with only the barest veneer of Rand's Objectivist dream.  Even the score sounds canned from other Armageddon religious melodramas. There is only one message from Dagny and Hank: Get out of my way, cretin, this is my Vision! That's fine, but the film does not relate the Randian struggle in an interesting or compelling way.  This movie would have the rigid Ayn Rand turn to jelly. Grant Bowler is no Gary Cooper in "The "Fountainhead", (which is a much superior film) his facial expressions are no expressions. The Hank Rearden character is in business only to make money. If only singularity and wealth were more interesting on film. And it should have been.
     A more Objective movie would have been Rand herself, alone, as is.
There is one flash in this otherwise colorless movie and that is in the shots of the gleaming, polished, highspeed train. The silver blue  train as it speeds along the Colorado landscape, untethered and free, is the perfect example of Ayn Rand's right-angled philosophy, without the movie's poor players.      
     But then there is a huge fireball and a hand-scrawled sign: I've left the World just as I found it! ---End of Part One. 
     Spare me. There is more poignancy  in The Watchmen graphic novels. Why did these Randians bother with such a bad movie? 
     Who is John Galt?
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