Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00

'At Any Price' doesn't give full value

'At Any Price' doesn't give full value collider.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

Set in rural Iowa, "At Any Price" watches a contemporary farm family under stress, coming apart from external and internal pressures. Unforgiving corporations, genetically modified seeds, small versus large farms, and younger generations that want to pursue life away from the rural environment: all factor into multiple crises.

As Henry Whipple, salesman for Liberty Seeds focused on acquiring more farmland, Dennis Quaid uses his quick grin as a disarming enticement and a weapon, though it seldom masks panicky concern and sly manipulation. He sinks into deeper and deeper trouble, and he knows it. Writer/director Ramin Bahrani said the whole story came down to how far a fourth-generation farm family would go to save themselves and how far a parent would go to save a child. To that end, associations for the title "At Any Price" get teased out as plot elements progress.

Savvy wife Irene correctly assesses the financial and personal peril the family faces, and she confronts it with intelligence and calm reserve in one of the best, though supporting, women's roles in quite a while. Similarly, the complexity of current rural life, a life too often idealized, has a complexity seldom granted, including intergenerational tension, neighbors' support and rivalry, loyalty and betrayal.

Bahrani did his homework, talking for hours with Midwest farmers who kept saying it's get big or get out, expand or die. Even so, as shooting got closer, Bahrani felt so nervous that he called noted German director Werner Herzog, as Bahrani related at the Telluride Film Festival. Herzog said about Quaid, "He's a professional actor, just ask him how he's going to walk." In fact, Quaid had been calibrating the whole film with his walk and his head and shoulders. He makes the nonverbals count. Kim Dickens as Irene brings a solid, common-sense attitude to the proceedings. As rebellious son Dean who aspires to NASCAR racing, Zac Ephron is less than convincing though the family dissension feels real.

Unfortunately about two-thirds of the way through, Bahrani and co-writer Hallie Elizabeth Newton lose the balance of all the issues with a lame plot development, never regaining their equilibrium. "At Any Price" has good moments with more promise than full delivery. At a Landmark Theatre.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

April
Friday
03

New Music Circle presents On Fillmore with Glen Kotche and Darin Gray

On Fillmore is the multi-instrumental duo of bassist Darin Gray (Edwardsville/St. Louis) and percussionist Glenn Kotche (Chicago). They've been dubbed “the rhythm section’s revenge” by Jim O’Rourke, when...


April
Saturday
04

Brunch at the Stage: Riverside Wanderers

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


April
Saturday
04

Vocal Workshop with Bernice Hembree

Folk School - a service of 88.1 KDHX In this vocal workshop we will attempt to fine-tune your vocal skills. You will learn new technique to improve your sound, and shape your voice by adding color and depth to your sound. Group work will focus on harmony singing and...


Online Users

6 users and 11861 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook