The Most Beautiful Fraud: The Critics are Raving About Atlas Shrugged!
Because I guess we’ve exhausted all of our other entertainment options, somebody has gone ahead and made a movie of Atlas Shrugged. The troubled production has finally arrived in cineplexes, and while it’s not the big-budget blockbuster Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie extravaganza we were once promised, I’m sure it’s a wonderful film, if for no other reason than it’s based on the objective, reader-chosen greatest novel of the 20th century. Right?
“Its ideas are squandered by aesthetics…curiously sterile and lifeless…written and performed by robots…the lead actors deliver their lines like GPS navigators…worse than unconvincing, it’s enervating.” (Scott Tobias, AV Club)
“The most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault…the dialogue seems to have been ripped from the pages of Investor’s Business Daily…incoherent and murky.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
“Wacky train wreck of a movie…both kooky and clunky.” (Charlie Jane Anders, io9)
“Low-budget, no-talent treatment…sits there flapping on screen like a bludgeoned seal.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)
“Stilted, didactic and simplistic…stick-figure characters.” (Mark Jenkins, Washington Post)
“More than a whiff of amateurism in its writing and direction…almost impossible to follow…you can feel both the presence of the camera and the director’s abandonment of the actors…doesn’t end, it stops…a right-wing diatribe preaching only to the happily ignorant.” (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)*
“A mess, full of embalmed talk, enervated performances, impoverished effects, and cinematography that would barely pass muster in a TV show…like watching early rehearsals of a stage play that’s clearly doomed…disappointing…a succession of poorly blocked and shot scenes…so low on energy that it resembles a casting call…quite a bit of narrative padding and a woeful lack of action…surprisingly crude computer generation…a crippling miscalculation…limply illustrated…lusterless.” (Kurt Loder, Reason)**
“Speechy and preachy…in acting and art direction, it resembles a lost episode of Dynasty…long-winded…rookie filmmaker Paul Johansson isn’t much of a director…the acting is strictly from Stepford…preaches to the choir.” (Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Enquirer)
“A spindly toothpick of a movie…this hasty, low-budget adaptation would have Ayn Rand spinning in her grave…cuts corners in every respect…stuffy, shut-in approach.” (Peter Debruge, Variety)
“Botched…half-baked, unconvincing…button-pushing TV-style direction, threadbare production values and blah performances…didactic, sometimes risible…a serious cultural/historical disjunction derails the enterprise from the outset.” (Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter)
“Little going on in cinematic or storytelling terms…bland as water…zero atmosphere or energy…without any melodramatic zing…crushingly ordinary in every way.” (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
“The acting is so poor and the story so badly told that the viewer’s feelings about Rand’s novel are almost immaterial…drawn comically broad…uninspired…the dialogue is wooden, the delivery of it practically petrified…all black-and-white, no nuance.” (Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic)
Pfft! Okay, so that’s the pointy-headed liberal socialist Obama-loving coastal elites heard from. Let’s hear what real, patriotic movie critics from America thought!
“Attention must be paid…contains a fire and fury that makes it more compelling than the average mass-produced studio item…a mega-fable that is to capitalists roughly what To Kill a Mockingbird is to liberals…fascinating…important.” (Kyle Smith, New York Post)
“A timely must-see…an excellent reminder of the dangers of socialism in our current age of entitlement…remains faithful to Rand’s themes of capitalism and the evils of collectivism…illustrates the slippery slope of socialism our nation is teetering on…a wonderful film…definitely worth the price of a ticket.” (Jenny Erikson, Big Hollywood)
“Simply beautiful…lushly produced…acting, cinematography and score create a powerful experience of the story…is going to turbocharge the debate over Rand’s vision of capitalism as a moral ideal…Taylor Schilling is riveting as Dagny Taggart…can’t be ignored…a must-see film.” (David Kelley, the Atlas Society)
“Outstanding…the dialogue and acting were remarkably solid, even brilliant…excellent script and strong acting…a great movie…exciting, fast paced and breathtaking romp.” (Hans Schantz, the Atlasphere)
“Consistently high production values…set design, editing, music, and camerawork were all first rate…make no mistake, it’s one handsome film…all the actors looked and sounded appropriate for their roles and gave adequate to very good performances…a very creditable job…naturalistic and straightforward, matching the level of a well-made TV movie.” (Katheryn Schwalb, the Atlasphere)***
*: This is from a generally positive review.
**: Yes, that’s right: MTV’s Kurt Loder, writing for the libertarian journal Reason.
***: Now that’s good film criticism.