Less About a Payoff; More a Thoughtful Study About American Values (by Movie-Jay)
From my thoughts about the film in my special Toronto coverage. At Any PriceIranian-American helmer Ramin Bahrani is fascinated with slices of American life that most Hollywood films today ignore. In his first three efforts, shot on shoe-string budgets in a neo-realist style familiar to fans of Middle East films of the past decade or so, we get absorbed into the everyday minutiae of his characters. There was the Middle East immigrant in New York City who runs his gift shop stand in Man Push Cart 2006 , that resourceful Latino street orphan who works on a scrap-metal row behind old Shea <more>
Stadium in Queens in Chop Shop 2007 , and the African cabbie in Goodbye Solo 2008 .At Any Price finds Bahrani exchanging neo-realism for a classic American style familiar to a bygone Hollywood era that produced Breaking Away 1979 and Silkwood 1983 , while keeping intact his curiosity with everyday American life. Set in present-day Iowa with a pulse on our tense economic times, we follow enterprising farmer Henry Whipple Dennis Quaid, in what may be his best performance , a tragic character who now secures the Willy Loman place in American movies that had been occupied for some time by Kevin Spacey's Lester Burnham in American Beauty 1999 .Whipple, as he loves to remind us, is the largest seller of seeds in seven Iowa counties, second only to Jim Johnson Clancy Brown . His eldest son Grant, who he idealizes, is off mountain-climbing in the Andes while his party-boy younger son Dean Zac Efron races cars, leaving dad and mom a powerful, understated Kim Dickens to run the family business. A rich and textured story, this movie is less about building to a payoff than it is a soul-searching study of modern American values. What is astonishing is how Bahrani sees the glory of America and the trouble with her all at a level gaze. There may not be a better-directed sequence in American movies this year than one that takes place here at a race track where all of the major characters are assembled, singing the national anthem. Beneath its raw, physical appeal is a fundamental question about the price that is paid in the soul for winning at all costs at the detriment of your neighbor. This is a great American film.
Not as described better than described (by imdb-18776)
. This film is dark. The Whipple family, around whom this film is centered, is a ruthless group of people: the title of the film should say it all. Without spoiling the film, don't expect a "chick flick" or a feel-good "son makes good as a race car driver" movie. Early on we see the son we see the son, Dean Whipple, played by Zac Efron show his character. Almost immediately we see Dennis Quaid's Henry Whipple character. Still the film proceeds to surprise in a very well written story, just how barren the Whipple family is of anything approaching decent human <more>
beings. This movie is a sleeper look it up , it should win at least best directing and best screen play. The characters surprise you at their maliciousness. Listen to the thrum of the wind generators as they alone bare witness to this bleak family. In, short SEE THIS FILM!
Most under Rated film of all time? True Story (by rossvirant)
Great movie, I was blown away not expecting much at first, but I loved it. Great life like performances, and come to find out its a True STORY based on Monsanto Corp. Playing the big bad guys at Roundup selling their seeds
A Dark Reflection on the American Dream on the Family Farm (by JustCuriosity)
At Any Price was well-received in its regional premiere at Austin's SXSW Film Festival. Writer/Director Ramin Bahrani continues to show his great versatility as a young filmmaker. Here he moves from the urban environments of his earlier work to rural Iowa. The opening credits suggest that this film will be a romantic tribute to the fading world of the rural family farm. But At Any Price is really about how rural America has become just as ruthless capitalist and competitive as the rest of American life. The film is about the corruption of the American Dream and how the family farm is <more>
becoming increasingly ruthless competitive system. The family in this case is the seemingly average Whipple family headed by Henry Whipple who wants to pass his business on to his son Dean Whipple. Dean wants to escape the family farm for the far more exciting world of stock car racing. Dean seems to hate his father, but seems unable to escape the reality of being his father's son. Their father-son relationship drives the entire film. The two leads, Denis Quaid as Henry and Zac Efron as his son, are definitely playing against type as they are both known for far lighter fare. Both really manage to display their acting acumen in what turns out to be a far darker view of the often romanticized American family farm. This is a world of genetically-modified seeds and ruthless competition not church socials. At Any Price is a film about the cost of family and the high cost of the family farm. The farm appears to be just another exemplar of the troubling nature of American capitalism. While the film may prove to be too dark for the ordinary audience of these actors, it is very powerful film about dysfunctional family life and economic life in modern America that should be widely viewed. Highly recommended for those interested in serious film drama.
A perfect example of a lesser known movie being better then the studio ones. A true must see. I highly recommend. I say A-. (by cosmo_tiger)
"When a man stops wanting a man stops living." Henry Whipple Quaid is the head of his family's farming empire and is one of the best seed salesmen in the county. He want's nothing more then to pass on the farm to his sons. One of his sons is off in South America with no intent of coming home. His other son Dean Efron has ambitions of becoming a stock car driver. When Dean's life starts to slip away from him, an investigation into the family's farm and a horrible event all happens at once the family's future is threatened. I have said over and over that the <more>
lesser known movies 90% of the time are better then the huge studio movies. This is a perfect example of that. This is a great movie that really is a must see and I think Dennis Quaid deserves some recognition for this. This is the best acting job I have seen him do. Zac Efron also does a great job but the movie is more then just about the acting. I could go on and on about this movie but it just something that needs and deserves to be watched. Overall, a very great movie but it's not always happy. Great and depressing. I highly recommend. I say A-.
Let me begin by saying that I'm a huge fan of the director Ramin Bahrani, who also co-wrote this film with Hallie Elizabeth Newton. I thought 3 of his previous films were brilliant-"Goodbye Solo", "Chop Shop", and "Man Push Cart". In this latest movie, he presents an intense drama played out in the farm heartland of America.Dennis Quaid is superb as Henry Whipple, a rather smarmy, passive- aggressive owner of a huge and prosperous farm in Churdan, Iowa. He's extremely proud to be the latest in his family to run the farm passed down through four <more>
generations. He wants to pass it along to either of his two sons, preferably to Grant, the eldest, or to Dean the youngest. However, they have little interest in the farm, with Grant climbing mountains in Argentina while Dean, ably portrayed by Zac Efron, wants to be a NASCAR driver, after some success at local dirt tracks.Henry is under a lot of pressure to maintain his status. His father Cliif Red West , despite being retired, is quite controlling and always pushing Henry to make sure nothing goes wrong with the family business and their heritage. Also, a rival grain salesman Jim Johnson, well portrayed by Clancy Brown, is having success "turning" Henry's customers to his side. Finally, a whistleblower has alerted investigators that Henry may be involved in illegal activities, by cleaning and re-selling GMO's genetically modified seeds .All of this pressure will bring great strain on Henry's family, eventually leading to dramatic and tragic consequences for all concerned.There's lots of strong performances in supporting roles. Maika Monroe, as Cadence Farrow, Dean's sweet and sharp witted girlfriend, has excellent screen charisma and could be a young star in the making. Kim Dickens is also solid in her performance as Irene Whipple, Henry's perhaps too patient and loving wife. Finally , Heather Graham adds to the mix as Meredith Crown, Henry's long time mistress.I thought Bahrani captured the feel of the Iowan farm community quite well in the movie. I believe the film received lukewarm reviews, but, as mentioned, I found it to be an engrossing intense drama. I also thought the ending was true to the nature of the film and not a cop out, although I could see how others may not take it that way.
Sometimes, a movie character's stress is so all-encompassing and so consuming in his or her world that you begin to feel it in your own world, regardless of whether or not you've experience what they're going through. Director Ramin Bahrani, if nothing else, articulates internal conflicts and mental pressure beautifully in his latest offering At Any Price, a landmark in his film career as it is the most mainstream release a film of his has gotten and I'm sure numerous people still haven't heard about it.This is my introduction to Bahrani's work as a feature film <more>
director. His short film, simply titled "Paper Bag," was, hear me out, a twenty minute long film focusing on a listless paper bag that would travel by the way of the wind and would encounter numerous animals and obstacles along the way. The short was narrated by iconic actor and director Werner Herzog and possessed such an absurdist beauty about it that was equal parts whimsical and heartwarming. I couldn't recommend it enough.The film stars Dennis Quaid as Henry Whipple, owner of more than 3,000 acres of farmland in Iowa and the proud inheritor of Liberty Seeds, a company that sells and utilizes genetically-modified seeds. Henry hopes one day he'll be able to pass on the farm to his young son, like his dad did to him. However, his son Dean Zac Efron shows no interest in inheriting the farm, and sets his sights on being a race-car driver, competing in local events statewide in order to obtain money to perhaps make it that far. He is given encouragement by Cadence Maika Monroe , his sort-of girlfriend, even though he begins to write her off as his aspirations begin to seemingly evolve into something. In need of help, with competition in the contemporary agriculture world increasing and the possibility of a scandal on Liberty Seeds becoming others' knowledge, Henry takes Cadence underneath his wing as an intern and introduces her to the world, while simultaneously trying to combat it.It's clear that Bahrani didn't just want to use Iowa farmlands as a backdrop for his story. Him and co-writer Hallie Elizabeth Newton admirably immerse themselves into the culture of competitive agriculture, and show audiences through board-meetings, shady deals, and family dialog just how stressful of an environment this is. But what At Any Price's ultimate goal is lies on how it portrays the search for values and morality when money and company-placement is what it all boils down to. This isn't a tiresome trudge through morality in terms of how each right and wrong is rewarded, but rather it's about the choices we make and how we want to be seen by others. Henry seems like he once started out as an honest, moral man of his word, but now, he possesses the transparency, the attitude, and the fake smile akin to that of a politician. His son Dean is lost in the idea of trying to find himself when his father is not showing the characteristics of a role model or a caring member of his family. He worries about position and what the public thinks they know about him. This leads Dean to do things in the film he will later regret, if he chooses to reconnect with the path of kinder humanism.A story like this is only levied by performances, and thankfully the likes of Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron offer remarkably maturing ones. Quaid is an actor somewhat like Nicolas Cage and Robert De Niro in the way he chooses sometimes completely asinine film roles that clearly do not challenge him in ways we love to seem him challenged. But every so often, Quaid - like Cage and De Niro - will choose an offbeat film role and knock it out of the park. Scarcely has stress on a film character been so evident and relatable and this is thanks to a performance of remarkable quality by Quaid. Efron, as well, after hanging in the teen-girl crowd for a bit too long with films like High School Musical, 17 Again, and Charlie St. Cloud that, while maybe fun on an escapist level, do not give him the appropriate amount of human leverage he deserves. In At Any Price, he evokes a much more mature persona than we've seen him, and if he can't tolerate the lack of limelight and publicity a film like this brings, I see no reason why he wouldn't continue to do films like these.This is one the heaviest character-pieces I've come across this year. Not a lot happens in the film, but what does is subtle and strong in terms of furthering an encompassing theme. The film could be mistaken for sending mixed signals due to its unfocused nature, be a bit impulsive with some plot-strands not developing enough, and be criticized as too methodical because of several scenes relying on time passing and location. I agree with all of these points on some level, but feel the large majority of criticism has missed the mark because it doesn't give the film credit for attempting to articulate something that is greatly becoming grayer and grayer and that is what we, as humans, value in life. We like to think of ourselves as kind, gentle people, but when several outlets bombard us with dehumanizing stereotypes, images of pure cruelty, and the degradation of a moral compass and an increase in narcissistic, arrogant importance - especially in American culture - it's becoming a bit disconcerting in how nihilistic and careless we have become as a whole. At Any Price tries to magnify this concern, but on a much smaller scale, and remarkably succeeds in some very difficult aspects - especially considering it features a story that can easily be written off as noneventful.
Touching and emotional drama of life and moral reasoning it proves that family last. (by blanbrn)
"At Any Price" is one of those films that entertains with drama and tragedy it shows that life is forever changing and it shows the uncertain side of the business world. Still thru it all no matter what at any price family will prevail and survive. Set in Iowa in the heartland of farming country you have Henry Whipple the still good veteran Dennis Quaid who with greed and desire wants to expand his modern agriculture business and be number one. Only problem is his loose cannon son Dean Zac Efron wants no part of the business he wants to become a professional race car driver. On top <more>
of that a high stakes investigation into the family business is exposed and it changes the family outlook and the film takes unexpected twist and dramatic turns. Kim Dickens is supportive as Henry's wife despite the fact that Henry is cheating on her with the local and hot attractive slut Heather Graham . And some eye candy is added with scenes of Dean's girlfriend who's a sexy colored bra wearing girl! Overall this film is about fate and coming to terms with honesty thru family with faith and determination and will power. As "At Any Price" is one film to learn life lessons from.