“There was little time left for even truncated versions of Rand’s hallmark speeches. We are left with protagonists who seem to hold Randian views but we never hear why… The movie version of Atlas Shrugged feels flat because we are given so few opportunities to get inside the heads of the characters and empathize with what they are feeling.”
Jim, from the google group Christian Objectivists, saw this review and said, “Exactly what I was afraid of.”
He then asked, “Can anyone who has seen the movie let us know if they agree with this author’s opinion of why ‘the movie version of Atlas Shrugged feels flat’?”
I responded this way:
I have seen the movie, and I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t think anything that follows the book so closely could disappoint. That said, I can see her point. On the “feels flat” comment, keep in mind that Rand’s characters (in Atlas and her other fiction) are fairly flat. That’s how she writes. Her heroes have few, if any flaws; they are nowhere close to the more fully-developed, rounded characters of more postmodern writers that form modern screenplays. The movie, on the other hand, did a better job of presenting believable, well-rounded characters. Dagny (Taylor Schilling) could have used more passion, but she pulled it off; Rearden (Grant Bowler) was great, as were James Taggart, and Ellis Wyatt. Lillian was perfect. Ellis Wyatt (Graham Beckel) did a great job, though I was expecting a taller, thinner, Colorado-style rancher. James Taggart was (no kidding) handsome, contrary to what I expected, but the actor’s skill (Matthew Marsden) drew out my distain for the character. The actors brought more life to her characters, and I think she would have been delighted.
Regarding the exclusion of even “truncated versions” of Rand’s hallmark speeches. Not all, but some. And I am grateful because I think they are unrealistic, and “literarily irresponsible.” Rand is a genius, but the speeches are best left for the page.
Francisco (Jsu Garcia) speaks to Rearden briefly at Lillian’s anniversary party. As a fan, I would have loved the money speech, but the producers made their choices, and we will need to pick up where they left off.