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
When Dean is driving in the ARCA race at Iowa Speedway, it shows him shifting in his race car. On oval tracks like that, the drivers do not change gears at racing speed, only when entering and exiting the pits. See more »
Lions Of Least
Written by Jennings Carney, Lain Carney, and Van Carney
Performed by Pontiak
Courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records
Published by House of Hassle
By Arrangement with Bank Robber Music See more »
It's a story where the characters aren't sympathetic and seem to create all their own problems. None of their problems are all that involving either. So what's to care about? The script is poorly structured taking to long to set up the situation while at the same time failing to set up some key characters that come into play in the rushed final part of the film.
Quaid is very good, sometimes a bit mannered though he's supposed to be playing a kind of obnoxious salesman so that's part of the film can be accepted as being done on purpose. I heard the director speak after a preview screening and he mentioned the influences that kind of create the problem with the film. DEATH OF A SALESMAN meets THE LAST PICTURE SHOW with some Robert Altman thrown in. If you know either of these classic pieces of writing you might guess this isn't up to either of those standards and it's not. If you don't know those films it won't make it a better film. The film wastes too much time setting up the characters all of whom are unlikable selfish jerks for much of the film. The key dramatic incident comes too late--and won't be revealed here--and is left dangling at the films end. The one son, played with no depth, by Zac seems to be the focus of the story for too long and then is kind of pushed back and other characters take over. Aside from him there is little to fault with any of the acting.
One other key character, Quaid's Dad, appears out of nowhere in the film--you'll actually think he's been dead for years and years the way people talk about him until he suddenly shows up, and Heather Graham's character just pops up and pops out of the story with little logic aside from some kind of possible sexual interest, though there is no nudity in the film and the story doesn't go in that direction ultimately. Both of these characters need more thought on a screenplay level.
Some odd details here and there successfully touch on Robert Altman but those are just minor details of how modern farming works amid a messy script.
There is just little to hold your interest for far too long in the screenplay. Digital photography is OK but has a bit of a video edge to it and doesn't do the actors any favors in close up either. The film could use more and a better music score. The film ultimately is forgettable.
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