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
Ramin Bahrani's latest deals with farmer Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) who sees himself in trouble over the family business but he also finds his relationship with his youngest son (Zac Efron) slipping away. Both men appear to be wanting something they can't have and after a tragic accident their love for one another is tested. AT ANY PRICE certainly contains some good performances and it's heart is certainly in the right place but if you take away the profanity you're actually left with something that probably wouldn't be workable as a TV movie. Director Bahrani clearly wanted to make a simple film about simple people in a bad situation due to greed and there's no question that he wanted to give out a message but sadly his screenplay is just too simple for its own good. If you've ever seen a family drama in your life then I think it's going to be pretty easy to see every twist and turn in the story coming a mile away. You know that the father is eventually going to realize that he isn't a great father. You know that the son is going to hurt those around him. You know the two are going to have to have something happen that brings them together. Even the supporting characters are all rather predictable and especially the entire subplot dealing with someone turning Whipple in for illegal activities. Again, there's no question that the director had his heart in the right place but sadly there's just not enough here to keep the viewer entertained or at least caught up in everything going on. Quaid turns in one of his best performances in years as he does a very good job and especially during the scenes where he's trying to sell his skill. The character is certainly a flawed human and Quaid does a very good job at showing his good side as well as his bad. Efron continues to impress with these independent films and he too is good in his part. Clancy Brown, Kim Dickens, Red West and Heather Graham are all good in their supporting roles but it's Maika Monroe who easily steals the film in her part. AT ANY PRICE still contains some mild appeal to make it worth viewing if you're a fan of the cast members but there's no question that it needed a richer screenplay to make everything work.
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