Here’s the thing about filming a great big book of capitalist science fiction. If you’re enslaved to its every idea, one movie will never do. You might need two or three or 13. It’s a safe assumption that the people responsible for “Atlas Shrugged Part II” will require only one more installment to leave us alone. But who knows? (The copy I dragged around for six months was 1,200 pages.) They could be following that math principle in which a number is under constant division without ever reaching zero. Maybe we should be bracing for “Atlas Shrugged Part .044564: The Shruggening.”
Until then Dagny Taggart, the heroine of Ayn Rand’s soapy supernovel played in this movie by a power-walking Samantha Mathis, is trying to keep her privatized mega-railroad from being taken over and therefore ruined by a stupid, short-sighted government obsessed with sharing everything with the people. That is pretty much “Part II.” In a parallel America whose citizens look the way we look now but whose economy looks the way it did when my grandmother was a girl, the hero magnates have begun sabotaging their industries or abandoning them. That’s how regulatory and redistributey Washington is: It’s destroying America in an attempt to make everyone equal.