Ayn Rand was a bizarre person to say the least. Her lifestyle and philosophy really told the story of an eccentric and strange persona. In The Passion of Ayn Rand, Ayn meets a young protégé and falls in love with him. After much thought, she suggests to their spouses that for her continued mental well being, she's gonna need to sleep with her protégé on a regular and consistent basis. However, this will only work if she has the approval of her husband (Peter Fonda) and her protégé's (Eric Stoltz) wife (Julie Delpy). Once the arrangements are made, they begin a torrid love affair that gets her…er...um creative juices flowing. The end result is her second literary masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged. For fifteen years, they "loved" each other and her continued success appeared a lock on the literary front as long as her muse remained safely tucked away in her bed. Time however was not on Ayn's side. 25 years her junior, the protégé after sharing Ayn's spotlight, began to feel a little strength of his own and began a dalliance with a younger student, much to the displeasure of both his wife and his lover. Ayn Rand was a multifaceted person who bent the wills of weaker individuals to her own until she got what she wanted, if we are to believe the theatrical presentation. Very engrossing and extremely interesting, The Passion of Ayn Rand is a voyeur's look into the world of one of the world's most curious authors.
The audio is a DD2.0 that delivers on the film's jazz tinged theme. There are no effects to speak of and the dialogue is clean and very well presented. The video for this film is another sort altogether. Chapters 1-4 were full-frame and full of rich and luxuriant colors. There was only a hint of chroma noise in the way of slight pixelation and a moment or two of grain but nothing more than that. The balance of the chapters were unwatchable. Each of the chapters paused and broke into pixels that further degraded the image. Audio dropouts and a frozen image were the result. Hopefully, this is not representative of the balance of the discs that have been released. Chapter skipping and advancing the scene did nothing to help with the problem. In most cases, the image remained frozen for more than 5-minutes, resulting in the inability to watch the balance of the film.
The extras on the disc deal mainly with biographies for both the cast and the actual people they portrayed. A photo gallery and an overview of Rand's own belief system on Objectivism is presented. Other than that, there are no extras to speak of.
The Passion of Ayn Rand looks to be an incredibly intense film that was marred solely by a poor Digital rendering. Helen Mirren is as usual incredible with a dead-on Russian accent no less. I'd suggest renting it if only to see an incredible actor deliver another incredible performance. When Helen Mirren is on the screen, no one else seems to measure up to the level of realism and believability she brings to her roles. For that reason and that reason alone, I suggest you rent this film just to see a master artisan at work. Rent it