“Midas Mulligan,” says the shadowy figure who accosts the prominent banker in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged .
The skeptics are wrong.Ever since the project launched last April, skeptics have wondered how a film with a limited budget of $10 million, rushed production schedule, and lack of big-name talent could possibly do justice to the novel. Over a thousand pages long, with an intricate plot, epic scope, multi-layered mystery, a hero who does not appear until the final third of the story, and a complex philosophical theme, Atlas Shrugged has posed an insurmountable challenge to film-makers. The streets of Hollywood are littered with the ashes of prior efforts, some with much larger budgets.
This film is going to turbocharge the debate over Rand’s vision of capitalism as a moral idealTaylor Schilling is riveting as Dagny Taggart, the woman who manages the Taggart Transcontinental rail system with intelligence and courage while fighting interference from the president of the company, her incompetent brother James (Matthew Marsden), and his political cronies. Schilling is well-matched with Grant Bowler as steel-maker Hank Rearden. As the story opens, Rearden has just started producing a new alloy he invented; and Dagny is his first customer. She wants to have rails of the metal to replace a branch line in Colorado, which is booming with business growth, led by oil-producer Ellis Wyatt, who is clamoring for better transportation for his product.
Taylor Schilling is riveting as Dagny Taggart.
A poor adaptation could be ignored by both sides. This adaptation can’t be ignored.The novel was set in an indefinite “day after tomorrow,” a world that is always just ahead of us, retreating like the horizon as we approach. The producers made the controversial decision to date the story in late 2016, presumably to tap into the many parallels to current events, and the establishing shots of cities, train wrecks, and government actions are arresting extrapolations of today’s actual world. These depressing scenes are offset by gorgeous scenes of triumph. The first run of the John Galt Line is a visual symphony (even with some ragged edges in the digital graphics).
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