In the competitive world of modern agriculture, ambitious Henry Whipple wants his rebellious son Dean to help expand his family's farming empire. However, Dean has his sights set on becoming a professional race car driver. When a high-stakes investigation into their business is exposed, father and son are pushed into an unexpected crisis that threatens the family's entire livelihood. Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
A Dark Reflection on the American Dream on the Family Farm
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 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.
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