I first arrived at this title upon seeing Atlas Shrugged Part II in the theater. I was reeling from the disappointment with several minor points in the film (the corny opening scene, the overuse of under budgeted and unnecessary graphics, the watering-down of the author's hardcore message and particularly, the not-so-handsome depiction of John Galt, the supposed ideal man). I was prepared to rip the film apart. I was so disappointed because the book had such a transformative effect on me. How could they do this to Ayn Rand's fictional masterpiece that explains the moral underpinning of free markets, free minds and free money?! It was epic, iconic and eerily predictive of so many subsequent conditions of government overreach. But that's enough bickering; it gets us nowhere. Besides, I'm sure someone, somewhere who claims to know far more about movies than I do has done plenty of the bickering for me. I bet there are even people out there who don't like Ayn Rand and saw the film. I'm sure they'll have a hay day tearing it down.
Instead I will focus on the aspect of the film that came across most clearly and was the most accurate representation of the novel's theme: actions of the state represent force enacted against the citizenry. This is clearly demonstrated in the government's aggression against Hank Rearden, in my mind the undisputed hero of Part II. Mr. Rearden committed a crime against the state by selling Rearden Metal to his friend, the coal magnate Ken Danagger, in a quantity contrary to the newly minted "Fair Share Law" which limited the sale of "strategic" goods and included a laundry list of other elixirs sure to save the world economy. He was hauled before the court to answer for his crimes. Then he performed what is in my opinion the most courageous act in the entire story. He stood before the gang of black-robed thieves and told them that he did not recognize their authority to take his metal. They appealed to the "common good" and to the needs of his fellow men. They placed themselves in the position as the savior of mankind, and they demanded that he be reasonable and submit to their authority. But, Hank recognized their obfuscation. He called them on their bluff and made their threats explicit to all who could hear, "If you think you have the right to use force against me, bring guns."
Anyone who wishes to hide their aggression behind the veil of love for fellow men requires your consent. Don't give it.
The mind is the instrument that holds the world aloft. Atlas Shrugged is a tale of the mind, weary from being beaten and robbed, going on strike.
Atlas was mugged, so...
... Atlas Shrugged.