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Sunday, April 17, 2011

David Bentley Hart on Ayn Rand

I've noticed that Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart has a review at First Things of the just-out movie Atlas Shrugged, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ayn Rand. Here's just the beginning of it ...


The Trouble with Ayn Rand
David Bentley Hart

It is one of the most indelibly memorable scenes, and certainly the best twist ending, to have come out of the cinema of the 1960s: Charlton Heston riding his horse along the beach, Linda Hamilton mounted behind him with her arms wrapped around his waist, both quite fetching in their late Pleistocene dishabille, until they come upon some gigantic object, visible to the viewer at first only from behind, and just fragmentarily familiar from the ruinous silhouette of its torch and spiked coronal. Heston dismounts, an expression of dawning understanding on his face. The surf breaks about his feet. “Oh, my God!” he exclaims and falls to his knees. “They finally, really did it!” Beating the sand with his fist, he cries out, “You maniacs! Damn you! God damn you all to hell!” The white foam swirls about him again. Only then does the camera draw back, now from the opposite angle, to reveal the shattered remains of the Statue of Liberty. The screen goes dark, but the sound of waves can still be heard.

I don’t really want to talk about The Planet of the Apes just now. I mention the scene only because, quite unintentionally, I found myself reenacting it only a few days ago, uttering the same lines almost verbatim, sinking to the earth under the same burden of world-darkening despair. Oh, there was no bleak, blinding prospect of the gray and silver sea stretching out toward an impossibly distant horizon, there were no waves breaking with a desolate sigh on the barren strand, there was no horse, no fallen copper colossus, and certainly no beautiful, scantily clad woman nearby. There was, however, the same frantic look of terrible recognition in my eyes, the same pitch of hopeless horror in my voice, the same sense of doom. I had just discovered that some malevolent wretch had done it at last: had made a film of Atlas Shrugged .....


:) And you can also check out Roger Ebert's review.


Blogger Jeff said...

Good smackdown by Bentley Hart. It's rare to see him get so exercised about something.

6:55 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah. I looked up The Fountain movie - pretty awful too, as he said. What was Gary Cooper thinking? :)

1:50 PM  

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