Apart looking like a bad movie, I found this jarring. It should be in black and white, or muted colors, with the palate and overall look of a Visconti film. It has some Art Deco architecture (good), but signs of the modern world intrude at the wrong moments. It should not have high-speed rail (will this confuse conservatives? Did those governors end up cutting Medicaid and coughing up the money?) and it should not postulate unrealistic speeds for freight trains. It should not have 2011 cars and Dagny Taggart should not look like a mousy actress imitating Nicole Kidman playing a local news reporter. “If you double cross me, I will destroy you” doesn’t ring true. Hank Rearden’s line about only wanting to earn money comes across as either a parody of Gordon Gecko or as something worthy of Gecko’s parody. To be properly post-Wall Street, Rearden must somehow contain and yet leapfrog over Oliver Stone’s vision; a pretty boy look will not suffice.
Unfortunately, there is no substance to his marginal criticisms, and more inflammatory than substantive. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he only observed two minutes from the movie, so he doesn’t have the background. Rand’s novel is set the day after tomorrow. It’s both timeless for its political and economic themes, and timely for the challenges that we currently face. To be sure, the themes are even more relevant today than they were in 1957, which is why Atlas Shrugged sold more copies in the last twelve months than in the twelve months after its first publication.