Who's In It: Taylor Schilling, Grant Bowler, Graham Beckel
The Basics: Dagny Taggart (Schilling) is the hard-driving force behind America's biggest railroad, but her quest for success is ruthlessly impeded by an evil lefty government that wants to crush corporations and redistribute wealth, as well as by a mysterious, shadowy figure who shows up, lures away her best and brightest employees and leaves the unanswerable question, "Who is John Galt?" hanging in the air. She teams up with mega-industrialist Henry Rearden (Bowler), whose new super-strength metal alloy holds the key to rebuilding the greatness of the railroads and, ostensibly, ushering in a new American Renaissance of awesome ideas and individual achievement. Will they conquer all and sweep away the lazy, undeserving poor? For the answers you'll have to watch for parts two and three of this planned trilogy--think CEO Of The Rings--coming sometime soon, maybe, to a theater near you.
What's The Deal:This Sharktopus-budget-level cheap, badly-acted, clumsily-written and stiffly-directed movie about people sitting around tables talking about metal alloys, experimental engine prototypes and gettin' all the money still has a lot to offer film fans on both sides of the Great Ayn Rand Divide. For true believers, it's a way to finally see their ideals projected onto a big screen. This sort of hardcore conservatism simply doesn't often make its way out of a news-oriented setting and Rand fans will probably forgive it its bland TV movie production values. For curiosity-seeking bad-movie nerds, it'll be a whole other experience, one where you'll get to revel in the weird speechifying about "stupid altruism," borderline hypnotic stretches of dialogue about railway systems and hilariously sinister, giant-briefcases-full-of-oppressive-corporation-ruining-contracts-carrying liberals.
Actor Doing Her Best Under The Circumstances: Taylor Schilling delivers a sort of Dynasty-style, ballbusting lady-boss performance as Dagny. Even if you're not into this sort of person in real life, you kind of root for her to crush everybody trying to get in her way. I'm looking forward to parts two and three because, if we're lucky and they get made (and if we're even luckier and they get made by someone not slavishly devoted to the source material) she will go all actual ninja and begin using swords and throwing stars on those parasitical union employees trying to bend her will for the sake of dental coverage.
Nagging Questions I Want Ayn Rand To Answer From Beyond The Grave: I'm curious about the scene where a corporate titan's house burns to the ground and it's reported that fire trucks from other counties have to be called in to fight the blaze. Who does this person think he is, suckling at the public teat of fire department service? Shouldn't he go out and earn his own fire department to put out his possibly arson-related incident? And on the production end, were none of the actors on this thing SAG? Were the carpenters and electricians and other crew members just random day laborers they picked up hanging around outside of the local Home Depot? I think it matters from a purity standpoint.
Dear Objectivists, Don't Get Mad: Because, no joke, if this were a weekly series on Showtime I would watch it every week. And you know it could be with the right pitch. They air Gigolos, after all.