- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Like so many Ayn Rand enthusiasts, I scrutinized the long-awaited film version of “Atlas Shrugged” for deviations from Rand’s iconic novel extolling the free-market entrepreneur as a type of Atlas, the figure from Greek mythology who was said to support the weight of the world on his shoulders (“Fans nervously await film version of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ Web, Thursday). What would happen, Rand asked, if Atlas shrugged?

Rand’s protagonists areprone to thinking out loud. This poses a challenge for the action-movie format, as thinking is not acting. Predictably, some things in the film get lost in the translation. To its credit, the movie depicts plausible libertarian caricatures, whereas the book gives us implausible characters who speak like they are reading essays.

The big-screen treatment of this subject resonates in today’s politically correct culture because of our alarming fulfillment of the very conditions forewarned in Rand’s doomsday prophesy, first published in 1957. In the book (but not the movie), the character Francisco d’Anconia said: “Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion … when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice, you may know that your society is doomed.”

“Atlas Shrugged” is a movie with a message: America is not too big to fail.

GREGORY L. LEWIS

Baltimore


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