Thursday, March 15, 2012

Atlas Shrugged on Netflix

Ryan Murphy points out something I stumbled on yesterday. I watched it (hadn't seen it earlier), and unlike Ryan I actually enjoyed it. Some of the acting was a little stiff, he's right. And I do (I'm told) have low standards for enjoying movies. But I didn't think it was so bad.

My reaction to the story itself (I've only read the first 100 pages or so of the book, and that was many years ago) was the same as the suspicions about it that I shared on here a couple months back after seeing the trailer: Ayn Rand really reaches for the low-hanging fruit with this story, and yet somehow it's an epic libertarian tale.

Think about it - who are the "bad guys" in Atlas Shrugged?: Blatantly corrupt businessmen and politicians. A lobbyist. Obnoxious dead-beat family members. A wife that insults you to your face. These are the bad guys.

Who are the "good guys" in Atlas Shrugged?: Innovative entrepreneuers. The people with a can-do attitude. The creative people who just want to earn money and make a better life for themselves.

You don't have to be an Objectivist or a libertarian to be on the same page as Rand on this one!

Anyway - I thought the movie was entertaining enough. It's a story about entrepreneurs who withdraw from society when they don't think they can earn a profit anymore, and it's a story that criticizes the rentier class which doesn't build and create things for the money they enjoy. What Keynesian wouldn't enjoy a movie like that???


  1. Ayn Rand was pretty explicit; she wanted to write black vs. white hat morality tales so as to add clarity to her ideas and to provide a response to similar works from authors on the left. Dickens wrote entertaining morality tales that had clear good and and bad guys and so have many famous and well regarded writers. There is a lot of making mountains out of mole hills regarding Rand.

  2. If what you say is the case then the book shouldn't drive "liberals" and "progressives" up the wall, but it does. It drives them batshit crazy in fact.

  3. Actually, the problem with the villains in the movie (I don't have the book in front of me to check, but I recall them being a bit better) is that their villainy is simply pathetic. There is a scene in the movie in which a representative of the State Science Institute asks Reardon to hand over Reardon Metal in return for government money. It's established that the government really wants this metal, even as it condemns it, and will do (and in fact do) anything they can to get it. Except, Reardon tells the guy that if he just says that Reardon Metal is good, then he will sell it to the government. But the bad guy is unable to say it's good, that was too much and the bad guy couldn't say. Ummm...what? So the bad guys are what, incapable of lying or saying something that they don't fully believe? If you carry out the idea that the villains are those who can't express their judgement to such an extreme as this, they stop being worth watching.


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