Atlas Needs Help

By Quin Hillyer

True confessions: Dagny Taggart is the only fictional character I ever fell in love with — or at least, when reading the first third of Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged some two decades ago, I was so smitten with the heroine that I wished somebody like her would show up in real life. All of which explains how high was the hurdle standing in the way of the movie version of Atlas Shrugged if it wanted me to "buy in" to its representation of the novel so iconic for individualists everywhere. To a surprising degree, the new movie, which opens at theatres April 15, cleared that hurdle. What’s so disturbing, though, is that the frightening dystopia it portrays seems all too real a possibility in today’s Obamaworld.

First, let’s dispense with the mini-review of the movie. Produced by Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro and directed by Paul Johansson, the movie — part one of three — stays remarkably faithful to Rand’s script while moving it more than half a century forward, to an eerily believable 2016. Dagny Taggart still runs a railroad with her rotten brother James, and the railroad still is plausibly depicted as such an integral part of the national economy that major newscasts would breathlessly report on its major initiatives. All the "moochers" and the influence peddlers are out in full force as well, making their evil deals and abusing their ill-gotten powers.

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