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An enjoyable but rather brisk start to the epic,
This review is from: Atlas Shrugged Part 1 [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Those who have read and appreciated the famous novel will find much to like in this brisk and tightly constructed low-budget ($20m) movie. Such readers will be able to fill in some of the inevitable glosses and omissions that result from trying to adapt a major 500,000 word novel. I certainly enjoyed the movie far more than I thought I would. The cinematography and editing are workmanlike, the casting and costumes are nearly flawless, and the sets and lighting are perfect. FX, as far as they are needed, are convincing. The music is lush and always suitable, but becomes a little too heavy-handed in a couple of places. Most importantly, the acting is really strong. The only character whose portrayal really 'jars' at all is Hugh Akston, who seems for some reason to have been 'split' in two - a hyper-efficient diner waitress and Akston becoming a slightly seedy-looking diner owner. The 'modern' near-future setting doesn't distract, as long as you can suspend disbelief that U.S. supplies of Arabian Gulf oil have been cut off. The pacing of the film is a little too fast toward the end, and may confuse those who don't already know the plot. The ending is also strongly marred by a quick short voiceover of what Galt said when he met Wyatt. That audio should have been cut out, since the audience knows by that point that Wyatt isn't a man to have been convinced by the trite and rushed words we hear. Once we get all three DVDs (plus perhaps some deleted scenes), and from that perhaps a Director's Cut or a really strong Fan Edit, then we'll be in a position to judge this epic on its final merits. As it is, Part One is certainly an encouraging start.