Atlas Shrugged – the movie

One interesting side-effect of gazing upon Atlas holding up the world was to discover that in 2011 they actually made Atlas Shrugged as a film, or series of 3, actually.  No surprise considering the thickness of the book that it was hard to compact into the normal Hollywood window.  Despite having a low, low rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a high audience rating – a bizarre combination that I am told contradicts.  No matter, I knew I would like to see this film adaptation and despite being low budget, it’s to its credit that it remains true to the dialogue and spirit of the book.

Sadly, it was a commercial disaster.

It really shouldn’t be a surprise.  The world isn’t ready for it.  The truth of the message that nothing is free and everything is earnt.  No matter, watching the scenes I had semi-forgotten reading, I was stirred once more.  Especially by two moments :-

One, when Hank Reardon returns home after a day at work and is greeted by his mother, his wife and her brother, all of whom chastise him for working so much and wonder why he can’t be more like them.  Little thinking of course, that the whole lifestyle they have that allows them to leisurely do all this is supported by Hank himself.

Two, when his brother-in-law asks him for money, but further suggests that it must be a bank transfer as he cannot be seen to be cashing a cheque made out by Hank himself and the negative associations that would cause in the circles in which the brother-in-law moves.  It is indeed a funny thing, for a persons money to be good enough, yet at the same time, they are not considered good or worthy enough to be associated with.  I know how you feel, Hank, I really do.

I’m reminded now of the children’s statements – the section that said He worked really late.  Emotive words that say more than real evidence ever could, not that real evidence was ever needed anyway in the world of Familiehuset nee Statsforvaltning.  When you hear it, you’ll be thinking 8, 9 even 10pm – but no, it was normally between 5-6pm, always in time for dinner.  I doubt the children would even have noticed, unless the auto-suggestion of the people sitting, drinking coffee, judging had been there.

I’m also reminded of one of the darkest moments of realisation that resistance here was futile, back in early 2005, when I didn’t yet have a job and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.  The house was cold, I was told and the radiators must all be turned up to the max in every room, regardless of cost.  I was surely wrong anyway that doing so would mean using all the oil in a month.  I acquiesced and one month later was proved right – all the oil in the tank, all 2,500 litres of it at a local price of 25,000 krone was gone.  Drip…drip…drip…a bit like transferring money to someone without leaving a paper trail that they were ever associated with you in the first place.

The welfare state indeed brings a disrespect for possession.  heating is another of those free things that just exists, isn’t it?  In those Christmas dinners I will no longer have to endure, one of my first jobs after they had departed was to go and turn the entrance radiator back off.  It had always been turned on at some point in the evening, to the maximum setting, by the smokers so they had somewhere warm to lean against while enjoying a cigarette with the front door wide open.  Ah we can but hope Atlas Shrugs someday!


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