THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 818, April 19, 2015
The difference between libertarianism and every other
social or political philosophy is its answer to the
question "Who owns your life?" Everything else flows
naturally from the answer to that question.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
After nearly a year of hearing about the adaptation of one of my favorite novels, Alongside Night, I was finally able to see it courtesy of J. Neil Schulman. Unlike other so-called Libertarian critics (yes I'm looking at you, Davi Barker), I have to say that I was quite impressed with the production values considering the limited budget that the movie was made under.
For those of you who haven't read the original novel or the graphic novel version, the story revolves around the collapse of our economy due to government spending and inflation. It is the day of reckoning that economist Dr. Martin Vreeland (Kevin Sorbo) had been trying to warn the government about for years, but was constantly ignored despite being the one who finally got Europe to shape up. What is even more amusing is that capitalists like Vreeland are being scapegoated for America's fiscal crisis (big surprise). It is also interesting to see that the dollar has been rendered so worthless that people are now using everything from gold to Penn & Teller tickets in exchange for goods and services. Though I was somewhat disappointed that Penn & Teller tickets only got you one crappy cab ride. Come on, give my brothers some love.
Elliot Vreeland (Christian Kramme), the teenage son of Martin Vreeland finds himself thrust in a world that's falling apart and has to adapt in order to survive. Elliot finds himself on the run from FEMA agents when he is separated from his family. The government wants to use Martin Vreeland's family as leverage to get him to put up a last ditch effort to keep the government from imploding.
Elliot later has to alley himself with an anarchist group who calls themselves the Agorists who are intent on overthrowing what is left of the government. While spending time in the underground society he meets a pretty, but mysterious girl named Lorimer (Reid Cox). One of the most intense aspects of the movie is where Elliot isn't sure who he can trust, since nothing is what it seems to be. Part of his distrust comes from his father, who doesn't trust the Agorists' anarcho-capitalist philosophy, since he is more along the lines of a limited government libertarian.
I was glad that they kept my favorite scene from the book where Elliot and Lorimer walked around the underground mall, which was a bastion of political incorrectness. They had shops that sold everything from guns to drugs to nuclear warheads. I especially loved the scene where the two were playing some Hogan's Alley simulation game that involved armed teachers protecting their students from mass shooters. This is enough to make any statist cringe. I even thought that the "death sticks" reference from Star Wars: Episode II was a nice touch.
The movie also keeps the sad, but uplifting climax, which serves as a rallying point for the protagonists of the movie. Now, I'm not really going to go into too much detail, since I don't want to give away the ending to those who aren't familiar with the story. I will say that I found it somewhat intriguing how incredibly delusional the henchmen were with their blind loyalty towards the same masters who couldn't care less whether they lived or died. It almost makes you pity the henchmen.
As I said earlier the production values were relatively good considering the budget that the movie was under and I don't think I could have done it any better myself. Was everything about the production perfect? No, but this isn't exactly a Jerry Bruckheimer production that we are talking about, so I can't be too hard on Schulman. The acting was spot on with the performances of our newcomers Christian Kramme and Reid Cox as well as the underrated Kevin Sorbo and Gary Graham. Die hard Star Trek fans will probably enjoy seeing the performances of Tim Russ and Garrett Wang, though I don't know much about any of the Star Trek series after The Next Generation. I also enjoyed the cameos of J. Neil Schulman, who always appeared whenever our protagonist was in a jam, as well as the cameos made by activists like Ron Paul and Adam Kokesh.
When I saw this movie it brought me back to the time when I first read the novel, right around 2001, which ironically was the date that the story was originally set [by the publishers, not the author!—Editor]. Those were the days when I was first flirting with libertarianism. Seeing the movie adapted into a full length movie was a dream come true. As soon as this movie comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray, I am going to do everything I can to spread the word about its release to liberty lovers and opened minded people who are interested in supporting independent movies. Who knows? Maybe the movie will find some newfound success in the video market as The Princess Bride did. When The Princess Bride first came out in the theaters it became a commercial failure, due to the studio not knowing how to market such a unique movie. It later found success in the home video market and gained a following so big that it is now becoming part of our pop culture. Is there any way that Alongside Night will have the same success? We will never know unless we try.
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