Atlas Shrugged: Part I - Release and Reception - Critical Response

Critical Response

The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews; Rotten Tomatoes reports that 5 of 45 written reviews from critics (11%) were positive – with an average score of 3.5 out of 10. It summarized the critical reaction: "Passionate ideologues may find it compelling, but most filmgoers will find this low-budget adaptation of the Ayn Rand bestseller decidedly lacking." Metacritic gives the film a "generally unfavorable" rating of 28%, as determined by averaging 18 professional reviews. Some commentators noted differences in reaction to the film from professional critics as compared to audience members.

"So OK. Let’s say you know the novel, you agree with Ayn Rand, you’re an objectivist or a libertarian, and you’ve been waiting eagerly for this movie. Man, are you going to get a letdown. It’s not enough that a movie agree with you, in however an incoherent and murky fashion. It would help if it were like, you know, entertaining?"

—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, April 14, 2011

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film only one star, calling it "the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault." Columnist Cathy Young of The Boston Globe gave the film a negative review. Chicago Tribune published a predominantly negative review arguing the film lacks Rand's philosophical theme, while at the same time saying "the actors, none of them big names, are well-suited to the roles. The story has drive, color and mystery. It looks good on the screen." Kyle Smith in the New York Post gave Atlas Shrugged a mostly negative review, grading it at 2.5/4 stars, criticizing its "stilted dialogue and stern, unironic hectoring" and calling it "stiff in the joints", but also adding that it "nevertheless contains a fire and a fury that makes it more compelling than the average mass-produced studio item."

Reviews in the conservative press were more mixed. American economist Mark Skousen praised the film and wrote in Human Events, "The script is true to the philosophy of Ayn Rand’s novel." The Weekly Standard senior editor Fred Barnes noted that the film "gets Rand’s point across forcefully without too much pounding," "fast-paced" when compared with the original novel's 1200-page length, and "at least as relevant today as it was when the novel was published in 1957." Jack Hunter, contributing editor to The American Conservative, wrote "If you ask the average film critic about the new movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged they will tell you it is a horrible movie. If you ask the average conservative or libertarian they will tell you it is a great movie. Objectively, it is a mediocre movie at best. Subjectively, it is one of the best mediocre movies you’ll ever see." Peter Foster in the National Post credited the movie for the daunting job of fidelity to the novel, wryly suggested a plot rewrite along the lines of comparable current events, and concluded, "if it sinks without trace, its backers should at least be proud that they lost their own money."

Read more about this topic:  Atlas Shrugged: Part I, Release and Reception

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