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

Local Artist Spotlight


The Driftaways

Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. Don't Hide is full of high energy jams and groovey improves that gives them a good time vibe. Download their song "Don't Hide"…

Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

KDHX Recommends

July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


August
Saturday
02

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014 The Aching Hearts are the husband and wife duo of Ryan Spearman and Kelly Wells (host of Steam-Powered Radio on 88.1 KDHX), who recently released the CD "Just a Habit." Join them and KDHX for a morning of classic, old-time...


August
Wednesday
06

Discovery Series: Mandolin Orange

Discovery Series: Mandolin Orange KDHX presents Mandolin Orange as part of the Discovery Series on Wednesday August 6 at 7:30 p.m. The North Carolina-based duo combines bluegrass, rock and country, providing a modern take on age-old styles. Tickets available...


Online Users

6 users and 9172 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook