Rated: R for sexual content including a strong graphic image, and for language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 10, 2013 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics
Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani (Chop Shop) has orchestrated a finely understated drama incorporating elements felt in the oeuvre of Arthur Miller and John Steinbeck.
His At Any Price stars Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron and emphasizes Quaid's Henry Whipple efforts to maintain his Iowa-based business (selling genetically modified seeds besides farming 3500 acres of land) and the gradual estrangement of son Dean (Efron of Me and Orson Welles and Charlie St. Cloud).
A mundane milieu of establishing the stresses on Henry may not provide narrative accessibility for the undiscerning, but there is considerable affection for its characters. Efron's exploits through the NASCAR circuit as Dean's older brother scales the Andes steadily gains attention along with the questionable brokerage of a harried Henry whose business comes under scrutiny. The father/son schism ensures some rough terrain that allows for an inveigling Quaid and Efron to exude effective interludes from the authenticity felt in the writing of Bahrani and Hallie Elizabeth Newton.
At Any Price becomes a grimly affecting domestic drama knowing how to maintain a key focus in rather surprising fashion. With its lovely azure skies and prairie landscapes lensed to upbeat effect, Bahrani cultivates compelling cinema that includes Kim Dickens as a loyal bookkeeper, Red West (Goodbye Solo) as a candid retiree and some of Heather Graham's best work in some time as Henry's mistress who gets involved with Dean.
|At Any Price||B+||B+|