Tom Basham

Atlas Shrugged: “Who is John Galt?”

In This Just OUT on September 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Who-Is-John_Galt-PosterI don’t even know who Atlas is, so I had lots to learn in seeing “Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?” It was like finding out “What is the Matrix?”

John Galt (Kristoffer Polaha from “Back in the Day“) used to work in an automotive plant until the company changed the rules and decided to pay each employee based upon his needs instead of what he produced. He said, “No.” No to the company and the country that wanted to exploit his talent and hard work instead of reward it. Soon many other captains of industry disappeared to escape the crusade against the accomplished. They also said no to the government whose regulations strangled their prosperity.

You would know all this if you watched the first two movies in this trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

One person has been on a mission to find John Galt, and she finds him in the first real scene of the movie. Dagny Taggart (Laura Regan from “How to be a Serial Killer”) crashed a plane to discover his secret valley of exiled excellence. Hidden from world, Galt and all the missing scientists and business leaders live in a self-supporting, utopian community. They have abandoned the rest of the world to live under one guiding principle: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

While Dagny decides whether she will join Galt, her precious railroad company is taken over by the government with her incompetent brother at the controls. To say the movie is preachy is to not understand the sermon that was Ayn Rand’s life work. The format of this final installment played like a newsreel, serving the filmmaker and author’s intent to reveal the societal crime of excessive regulation as the break on man’s engine of ingenuity.

While this movie served my flavor of Kool-Aid, the pace and production quality played like a TV movie. For decades this was to be a mini-series, and perhaps those fingerprints couldn’t be removed. It didn’t help that this third installment had the third cast, as all the leads were recast over the three years it took to do three movies. So, this is the third actress to play Dagny.

One thing that spiced this movie up was the cameos of current pundits beating the drum against the growth of government as the private sector is described as a bunch of selfish greedy capitalist. Rand may have written the book 57 years ago but she looks like a prophet to me now. With a third of the country on food stamps and the generators of wealth vilified as the top 1 percent who must give it up to the other 99 percent I now see why Atlas shrugged.

This movie will be studied in the future to help understand Rand’s principles and how not to turn a thousand-page novel into a movie. I do think this movie has the bulk of the “truth” in it and can almost stand alone, though I wonder if Rand would have allowed that. I am willing to make allowances and I give this movie 3 stars out of 5. Now that I know who John Galt is I wish I could find him.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:


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