On December 7, 2010, I attended the Atlas Shrugged movie event hosted by the Atlas Society. I had no idea how many people would attend; I had made my RSVP through Facebook, which listed only seven registered attendees.
I traveled from my home in Dallas, Texas to be at this
historic event. As I walked in the cold along the streets of New York City, I
found myself in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue.
I turned my head to the right and there, in front of Rockefeller Center, was the bronze statue of Atlas carrying the world on his back. I smiled; I had not anticipated seeing the statue. This only set the stage for what would prove to be an experience of a lifetime.
Some people expressed prejudicial concerns that the film would be a flop, because it was not a major Hollywood undertaking.
Due to the modest production budget and the limited time
available to complete the filming, some critics have been either indifferent to or contemptuous of the endeavor.
Some blog writers actually hoped that John Aglialoro, a former founding contributor of the Ayn Rand Institute and now a trustee of the Atlas Society, would fail to meet his filming deadline, so that the movie rights would revert back to Leonard Peikoff, trustee of the Ayn Rand estate.
Other bloggers wrote that they wanted the film to fail simply because, were it to succeed, it would be an achievement for the Atlas Society, a competitor to the Ayn Rand Institute. My thinking has always been that the grandeur of this story could carry the film, just as Atlas, the mythological Greek god, carried the world on his shoulders.
This is not the first attempt to produce a film of Atlas Shrugged. Ed Snider, a highly successful businessman and one of the original founders of the Ayn Rand Institute, tried to produce a movie version of the book in the 1980s in collaboration with Peikoff. Snider lost over half a million dollars in the process due to Peikoff’s apparent unwillingness or inability to see the project through.
When I arrived at the event, I was surprised to see around 150
people in attendance.
At the same time, I was disappointed; I knew how many people should have been there, and why they weren’t.
The atmosphere, however, was incredibly positive. The
speeches preceding the ten-minute movie clip were inspirational and passionate.
When the preview began, I was swept into the world of Atlas Shrugged — the actors and
the visual effects captured the spirit of the story!
I was immediately drawn into the context of an America that is in serious economic peril, a society on the brink of total collapse. The world looks dirty, corrupted, and cold.
Even if you have not read Atlas Shrugged, you will quickly know the difference between
the heroes and the villains, the achievers and the looters.
Taylor Schilling is a beautiful, confident, and thrilling
Grant Bowler is a fantastic Rearden: his posture, his facial expressions, and his deep voice embody the strength of steel.
At the end of the preview, I was deeply moved as Dagny cries
out a screaming and guttural “NO!” as she watches Ellis Wyatt’s oilfields burn.
The final clip showed a mysterious man ominously asking the question, “Who is John Galt?”
If the full movie is consistent with the preview, it will be a heroic tribute to Ayn Rand’s magnum opus.
Donovan Albanesi is the founder and president of The Culture of Reason Center, a resource and study center for students of Objectivism located in Dallas, TX. His website provides many interesting downloadable materials.