Approaching collapse, the government continues to exert its brutal force against the nation's most productive. While crime and fear take over the countryside, the last remaining entrepreneurs, who fuel the deteriorating economy, continue to vanish mysteriously and leave behind a wake of despair.
Directed by: James Manera
. Starring: Kristoffer Polaha
, Laura Regan
, Peter Mackenzie
, Greg Germann
, Larry Cedar
, Joaquim de Almeida
, Jen Nikolaisen
, Rob Morrow
, Eric Allan Kramer
, Louis Herthum
, Dominic Daniel
, Tony Denison
, Neil Dickson
. Music by: Elia Cmiral
The mind on strike! What if the world's most talented and hard-working people would go on strike leaving behind the tax collectors and greedy bureaucrats? One should see all three parts of "Atlas Shrugged" for Ayn Rand's message rather than for quality of production, although it's a much better option to read the book. The whole series is based on an over 1000 page book written in 1957, which was a fiction novel at that time. Now it can be moved to the non fiction section, because the future described in the book is becoming reality. It happens at a slow rate, like the pollution and the global warming, therefore public perception is low.
The plot of the movie is not about "a revolution made by the rich for the rich" as one reviewer wrote. In the background of the story, which focuses - for dramatic purpose - on a few wealthy people (successful, creative and hard-working), there are engineers, doctors, simple employees who go on strike. John Galt himself, the inventor of the revolutionary engine, is just an employee, not a rich man. Towards the end of the movie, a lineman calls Eddie Willers saying: -"Hey, it's not my place to tell you, but nobody else will. We're about to have a disaster on our hands." This lineman goes on strike too but he certainly doesn't leave his workplace because he is a "greedy, selfish capitalist". Ayn Rand doesn't encourage people to be greedy and selfish but to take care of themselves first so they can be in a better position to help others. One reviewer is concerned about "who does the actual 'work' in Galt's Gulch? Who built the cabins?" Workers like the nameless lineman could have done the actual "work".
Some negative reviews imply that real-world economy is bad due to the greed of large corporation owners. But can rich company owners, such as Bill Gates or Christy Walton be blamed for any economic turmoil? I just picked up 2 random names of very rich company owners as examples of real-world equivalents for Henry Rearden (a creator of new technology) and Dagny Taggart (an inheritor of a prosperous business). Responsible for the economic crisis in the real world are the financial institutions, banks, lenders who gave money to people that could never pay back, creating phony assets. Government is bailing them out by printing money, by taxing productive companies and by taxing people who produce and create. The Atlas Shrugged series draws here a clear line, in part II, when it shows how most financial institutions don't lend money to Dagney Taggart for building the Galt line. More than that, there's an emblematic dialog between Dagny and Midas, after Dagny arrives in Galt's Gulch, in this movie (part III): - "How did you get here Midas?" - "Me? I made my fortune lending people money to buy houses and build businesses, and I only loaned to those people I was confident could repay me." - "They called me heartless, which I could live with. But when they forced me to give loans to people who could never pay me back, I got the hell out." Real-world Franklin Raines 'earned' 90 million USD in salary and bonuses while he was head of Fannie Mae and I guess that he's not one of those who would admire or stand for a guy like Midas. I'm curios if he ever gives to charity any of the money he earned producing disaster. Gates gives to charity some of the money he earns producing technology! And this reminds me of another line in the movie: "We honor charity and benevolence, but it must be provided on the givers terms...voluntarily and not by force". How much of the money that governments are forcing people to pay is used wisely?
As an impartial observer of USA politics (I am not American), I see that Republicans and Democrats cooperate well to satisfy their greed ( "Paulson financial rescue plan", the meltdown of the Middle East, etc.), regardless of the excuses used later for confusing the electorate. Politicians' interests lead always to cross-party collaborations that are detrimental to peoples' interests. That's part of Ayn Rand's message. "I am offering you Wesley Mouch's Job. Now, there's nothing bigger than that. [...] In Washington, everyone's going to want to be your best friend. You're going to have power!" Thompson says to John Galt. Galt answers: "But that kind of job shouldn't exist. No one should have that kind of power."
Despite the budgetary constraints, which had a strong impact on the quality of the movie, the producers made an admirable effort to present Ayn Rand's message, condensing it brilliantly: "This is a strike of our minds. [...] We're not trying to impose our values on the world we left behind. They're free to continue to believe as they want, whatever they want, but they're going to have to do it without our help. [...] We know what it takes to build something and how little recognition you get from the outside world. [...] The people on strike worked for their own vision of what was possible. They rebelled against the quilt you wanted them to feel for their own success. You counted on them to keep producing, to keep thinking. [...] I showed them they were being punished for their own virtues, and I showed them how evil that is. [...] All evil needs to win...is the consent of good people."
The missing production values have been pointed out by other reviewers extensively, that's why I'm not mentioning them. It's quite painful to see the ending, for which there was probably no production budget left. However, the movie is worth watching.
Considering the production difficulties, it is unreasonable to evaluate this movie based on market response only, like some reviewer suggest. I agree with the comment: "let's hope, like Dune, the film is the impetus for a better quality miniseries".
Review by Razvan Preda from the Internet Movie Database.