Even readers who reject the basic themes of Ayn Rand’s didactic novels; or who see the psychological & government obstacles in her plots as little more than convenient strawmen; or who simply resist wading into thickets of turgid dialogue unequaled by any best-selling author with the possible exception of Leon (EXODUS) Uris . . . even these folks will have to admit that her magnum opus deserves something a little better than a film that barely rises to the level of a LIFETIME cable movie. With a cast of charisma-free, zero wattage actors (the leading lady pauses between clauses at every climax); dark interiors that imply power shortages rather than power; and the oddly dated plot about replacing an old railroad track with an untested, experimental metal one for a new bullet-train; the only narrative interest lies in wondering if the pic’s producers, after licking their financial wounds from this fiasco, will make like the novel’s heroine (Dagny Taggart!) and successfully beg up the capital for Parts 2 & 3.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Rand hands might hate to admit it, but there’s no little irony in the fact that all the world’s bullet trains (China, Japan, Europe’s TGV) are heavily funded/subsidized by their various governments. Or is the mysterious John Galt behind this?