Greetings again from the darkness. A tip of the cap to the independent producers who promised to make Part II despite the financial failure of Part I last year. My deep admiration for Ayn Rand and her classic novel label me as a believer in objectivism; however, as a movie blogger, my comments here are based on the movie, rather than the must-read book. Fully understanding the need and desire to tell this story and make the points via film, I am most disappointed in the lack of quality associated with the filmmaking process … just as I was with Part I.
On the bright side, the level of acting is a step up from the first entry in this series of three. Samantha Mathis is believable as Dagny Taggart and Jason Berghe is an improvement over Grant Bowler for Hank Reardon. Esai Morales adds a touch of class as Francisco d’Anconia, and we get the familiar faces of Diedrich Bader (Quentin Daniels), Michael Gross, Arye Gross, and Richard T Jones. There is even a quick speaking part for the usually silent Teller (of Penn and Teller).
The key to the story and Ms. Rand’s philosophy is not to be judged by the film production quality, but instead of the actions of individuals. Value for value by mutual consent and for mutual benefit. This flies in direct contradiction to much of what we hear during this election year in the U.S. Instead we get thinly-veiled references to re-distribution of wealth and sharing with those in need for the greater good. In this Part II, we see more mysterious disappearances from the greatest minds and most creative people. These happen even as those responsible refuse to understand they are the cause.
Despite the barely TV-level production quality of Parts I and II, I would never discourage anyone from seeing the films. The message is too strong. I would, however, highly recommend reading the source material from Ms. Rand’s 1957 novel. It is a brilliant work of art, and though quite hefty, well worth the thought-provoking effort regardless of one’s political views.
Here is my review of Part I from April 2011: https://moviereviewsfromthedark.wordpress.com/?s=atlas+shrugged
watch the trailer for Part II: