Movie Review: At Any Price
Small town Iowa, GMO corn and racing cars. At Any Price showcases how a dad copes with the legacy of passing down his family farm when he’s not sure that’s what his sons want. Dennis Quaid plays Henry, he’s a bit too hokey in his attempt to be a farmer, as the current owner of Whipple and Sons, he’s not thrilled with the choices of his 2 boys. Grant, the heir apparent who is never really seen the whole film, while off at Iowa State playing football forgoes coming back home and heads to Argentina to climb a mountain. Its very clear that this is both unexpected but also very upsetting to his father who thinks he’s got just the right person to pass the family business down to. Henry has a red carpet that he rolled up in anticipation of Grant coming home. His other son Dean (Zac Efron), likes racing cars. Dean has no desire to go into the family business and there is clearly no love lost between him and his dad. Dean is home and Dean does him family obligation but enters all the tournaments he can in an attempt to become a race car driver and get the hell out of Iowa. Grant’s mountain climbing spiritual journey forces Henry to look at Dean in ways he’s not happy with. The idea of having Dean take over seem real and not either one of them wants.
Henry is not an upstanding guy no matter what he tells himself, he goes to funerals of dead farmers in a hope to buy their land from families who aren’t interested in staying in the business, he sells GMO seeds for Liberty (Monsanto for frame of reference) and is the number 2 man in the state. His rivalry with the Johnson family clearly bothers him. He wants to be bigger and better and can barely compete with them even if he dwarfs everyone else, on the flip side Dean races in the same circuits as the eldest Johnson boy and is bigger and better.
At Any Price tries to make you get a feel of small time life as one member wants to cultivate it and another wants to leave it. It seems like you can’t go more than 5 minutes without either Dean or Henry reminding you they are both huge douchebags but in different ways. Heather Graham is also in this in the most warped way possible.
When Dean does something way over the edge, the situation actually brings him and his father closer. This movie could have been better so its strange that all the major events of the film seem to take place in the span of 2-3 weeks. Things that should have taken time but its as if the sun sets and new idea is hatched and executed. At Any Price close in a little over 90 minutes and while that’s a nice short span the way they did these tight time turnarounds it makes the film just feel off. I tried to like this but all I could really enjoy was the ending not only because of the direction of the 3rd act but because the movie was finally over. I give this movie a Redbox, if you are bored.
My Rating: Redbox
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: May 24, 2013 (Limited)
Run time: 105 minutes
MPAA Rating: R