• R, 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Ramin Bahrani
    In Theaters:
    Apr 24, 2013 Limited
    On DVD:
    Aug 27, 2013
  • Sony Pictures Classics

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At Any Price Reviews

Page 1 of 6
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

November 14, 2013
I don't think this movie knew what it wanted to be. I'm almost sure that half of it was on the cutting room floor, and what was left was a movie confused. Dennis Quaid overacted his way through this film, which didn't help. Not a terrible movie (I did watch it in its entirety), but not a good one, either. Plus, it left a VERY questionable message that didn't sit well with me...
MANUGINO
MANUGINO

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2013
How far would you go to chase a dream?

Good Movie! The opening credits suggest that this film will be a romantic tribute to the fading world of the rural family farm. But At Any Price is really about how rural America has become just as ruthless capitalist and competitive as the rest of American life. The film is about the corruption of the American Dream and how the family farm is becoming increasingly ruthless competitive system. At Any Price is a film about the cost of family and the high cost of the family farm. The farm appears to be just another exemplar of the troubling nature of American capitalism. While the film may prove to be too dark for the ordinary audience of these actors, it is very powerful film about dysfunctional family life and economic life in modern America that should be widely viewed. Highly recommended for those interested in serious film drama.

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.
SC007
SC007

Super Reviewer

March 9, 2014
I had a mixed reaction to the film. It needed a major rewrite. They had a great idea for a movie here, but they didn't execute it correctly. It feels like 2 stories are going on here, the Dennis Quaid one and the racing one with Zac Efron and they don't successfully come together here, in my opinion. Dennis's story was more interesting and fascinating than Zac's. One big problem here is that a lot of character were not developed well.

One major theme here is the relationship between fathers and sons. That is seen a lot in Dennis Quaid films (example: Frequency, The Rookie). He also did the father and daughter theme with movies like In Good Company and Soul Surfer. This film reminded me of movies like Promised Land, Mosquito Coast, Days of Thunder, In the Bedroom, A History of Violence to name a few.

Dennis Quaid is excellent here. I haven't seen him play a character like this before. Zac's character, in my opinion, wasn't developed well. He does have a great on screen chemistry with Dennis. I thought Zac was better in other films. Heather Graham, Kim Dickens, and Clancy Brown also do a good job in their supporting roles.

Despite the flaws, I say, see it for Dennis Quaid's performance in it.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

August 31, 2013
Ramin Bahrani's At Any Price is an interesting film, often feeling authentic, and disturbingly insightful, while at other times feeling a bit disconnected with itself. The film centers on ambitious farmer and seed seller Dennis Quaid, and the relationship with his restless and disenchanted son, played by Zac Efron.
What I liked most about At Any Price was the film's tone. It was observant without being judgmental, poignant without being obvious, and almost clinical in its execution. The film was not entirely far from feeling like a Cohen brothers vehicle, with the characters finding themselves in ever-deeper situations. We are entreated to a family that on the surface seems to be embodying the American dream, but with a dark undercurrent of greed and corruption. It is populated by strong performances and interesting character dynamics, with Dennis Quaid having an undeniably strong performance.
On a technical level, At Any Price features beautiful cinematography, beautifully utilized framing, and a consistent pace. The problem, however, was the script, which was far from as polished as the rest of the film. Its dialogue felt stilted and often too-on-the nose. Had the caliber of actors not been lesser, it would have failed on its face. Quaid in particular struggled to really sell many of his lines, with his character being overly verbose, and the dialogue too strained, desperately trying to sell a quaint and folksy personality. Thus, while the film has a number of intelligent undercurrents, the scripts execution often undermines itself.
Despite its complete lack of polish and notable scripting deficiencies, At Any Price is still an effective drama, offering a good story, and ending on a rather compelling note.

3.5/5 Stars
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

August 4, 2013
Man, Clancy Brown probably took this film at any price, because he hasn't been doing anything lately, or at least I don't think he has been, because the poor sucker has been trapped in the world of voice actors, so we never see his odd mug. Well, he could be doing worse, like Dennis Quaid, who might not be doing too bad when you look at his recent hit-miss ratio, but his career is going to need some work after a certain recent decision. Someone probably should have offered Quaid any price to not be in "Movie 43", and the disaster only cost about $6 million, even with its frustratingly star-heavy cast, so Quaid clearly isn't one to ask for all that much money. Oh yeah, Quaid joined "Movie 43" for cheap, and that makes his being attached to the project even more hard to forgive, but hey, I'd imagine he's on the right path to earning back respect with this film, which must be good, seeing as how it also features Zac Efron and Heather Graham, two people who make plenty of good decisions when it comes to films, like Dennis Quaid. Seriously though, I can joke all day about how Zac Efron was miscast, as he is just too pretty to handle the hardcore world of professional car racing, but Efron as Quaid's son is perfect, so Rotten Tomatoes' consensus has it right when it says that Ramin Bahrani has a really good eye for detail. Shoot, last thing that the guy did was a short film about a plastic bag that went on a revelatory journey with slightly philosophical and environmentalist thematic depth and the voice of Werner Herzog, so he at least has a great eye for detail when it comes to arthouse clichés. Don't worry people, this film isn't quite that avant-garde, and yet, as much as I liked it, it still has some questionable areas.

I joke about the compliments to Ramin Bahrani's attention to detail as a storyteller, but there is a certain thoughtfulness to this narrative that thins out rises and falls in plotting for the sake of delicately soaking up depth, and such a meditativeness in storytelling is often pretty effective in reinforcing what compellingness there is to this thin drama, but it leaves the film to limp a bit too much to its point, with only so much kick in atmospheric dynamicity to keep intrigue alive. There's enough entertainment value to this film for its steadiness to ever get dull, but the final product is consistently bland, to some extent, and as if that's not problematic enough, the much of what the film is so meditative on is a bit too familiar. Hardly anything is new about this film that ends up being driven by its formulaic conflicts and character types, and you can't help but notice that, not just because the film is, like I said, a bit too meditative upon its familiar narrative, but because the film has a tendency to take on histrionic tropes. I wouldn't say that the film is quite as melodramatic as certain other critics say, but make no mistake, on top of being formulaic, this film's story is plagued with questionable storytelling touches and, in some areas, moderately thin characters which dilute the genuineness of this pretty human drama. The film goes bloated with too much steadiness, too many familiar beats and too much overblown drama, and gradually loses steam that was so limited to begin with that the film rarely, if ever appears to stand much of a chance of escaping underwhelmingness, no matter how much Ramin Bahrani clearly wants this film to do better than it ultimately does. Bahrani's ambition often ignites an inspiration that in turn ignites a relative high point in storytelling, but most of what Bahrani is celebrating is questionable material, and that's a shame, because this film could have perhaps been more, yet is ultimately rendered too weak by its draggy, familiar, histrionic and overambitious storytelling to escape underwhelmingness. Nonetheless, the final product keeps you going as much as it can, at least from a visual standpoint, as it has some pretty settings, and a visual style that knows how to play up such pretty environments.

Alright, there's really not all that much that's especially special about Michael Simmonds' cinematography, but it is handsome, or at least knows how to capture handsome visuals, taking tasteful advantage of crisp definition and a tight scope to immerse you in the distinct and often lovely Iowa locations with a celebratory appreciation for the environment that ends up playing a hefty role in this drama. ...Okay, so, yeah, I'm making a bit of a stretch when I praise this film's locations, but there is something quite attractively simplistic about this Iowa environment, and that does more than you'd think in coloring up the film's enjoyability, though, as you can imagine, this film can't possibly run all that far on the backs of a good-looking presentation of good-looking settings. This film's story is something of a mess, or at least the telling of this story is, but there's still plenty of depth here, as the story boasts thematic depth that, while typically about as formulaic as most of the other aspects of storytelling, is noble, and often finds itself brought to life by undeniable highlights in direction, because even though the thoughtfulness in Ramin Bahrani's storytelling all too often does little more than thin out rises and falls in narrative structure, there are those moments in which Bahrani soaks up enough of the film's depth to create moving moments, some of which give you effective glimpses into what could have been. Granted, this film was likely never to be too much, as its subject matter is so messy, even in concept, and in execution, it's even messier, but not so messy that Bahrani can't to an adequate job of selling often thin drawn characters, who are, of course, sold more effectively by this film's pretty decent cast. Now, the cast isn't exactly filled with outstanding talents, and even if it was, there's not a whole lot of acting material to work with, yet most everyone has an opportunity to earn your investment, with Dennis Quaid being a relative standout with his convincing portrayal of a questionably drawn character with a couple subtle layers that Quaid sells about as well as he can. Some of the strengths that I just cited are a little bit stronger than a make them sound, and others are about as simply decent as I make them sound, but either way, the point is that there's not a whole lot of strengths to this film, yet there is charm, and plenty of it, so much so that the final product ends up being, not simply endearing, but pretty entertaining. I sure do wish that this film was more than simply entertaining, but the heart to this film is hard to deny, and when such ambition is done justice by highlights in direction and acting, you end up with a final product that endears as decent, if underwhelming.

When the price is paid, all you end up with is a draggy, formulaic, melodramatic and, of course, overly hopeful drama that ultimately collapses into underwhelmingness, but not so deeply that the attractive setting, - tastefully celebrated by Michael Simmonds' crisp photography - relative high points in directorial effectiveness, and inspiration in the performances don't do enough justice to charming ambition to make Ramin Bahrani's "At Any Price" an endearing little drama, though not exactly one to remember all that much.

2.5/5 - Fair
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

May 14, 2013
In the age of anti-heroes and villainous leading characters, "At Any Price" fits right in. With Dennis Quaid playing the always overly positive, yet deep down bad guy Henry Whipple, you love to hate the main character in Ramin Bahrani's Iowa based film. Henry is a family man, but he's always cheating on his wife (Kim Dickens) with his high school sweetheart (Heather Graham). Henry is a farmer but he also illegally cleans patented seeds and sells them. Henry shows undying adoration for one son that left home to go to college and has never returned while the son that is still around, Dean (Zac Efron), is considered lost to the world of racing. There are very little admirable qualities in Quaid's character and for that, with every stupid smile and condescending piece of advice he spouts off, you pray he'll get what's coming to him, and it carries on like this through the entire film. None of the characters are likable, and perhaps its my own upbringing in a farm community and the dark side that I've seen that makes these characters so much more relatable in their unlikable ways, but nonetheless, with no emotional connection to any of them, its hard to know where the film is going and why you should care. Where Bahrani's film ends it not too far from where it begins, begging the question what the point was. Still, the film remains entertaining enough to captivate attention and Quaid and Efron give enough in their performances to at least be watchable, but apart from that, this is just another small town venture in things that don't really matter.
Philip P

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2013
Nice tone to the goings-on with some pleasant surprises in the performances category, but it is easy to see why this one never took off. The story is too convoluted and complex to ever get the audience truly engaged as not everyone will understand the farming aspects. Other plot devices are used and then completely forgotten and add nothing to the story but intended drama that never pans out. There is a good movie in here somewhere, but on more accounts than not, this one fails.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

August 28, 2013
A silly little melodrama that would have been a lot better if it focused its narrative on the big business of farming and GMOs instead of the inevitable family conflict and murder. It doesn't help that the leads are a boring Zac Efron and a unbearably hammy Dennis Quaid.
January 14, 2014
Gt ready for hard times. That's the world of director Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo) who has a thing for morality tales that have characters taking on more than they can handle. Same goes for audiences. Bahrani, the American-born Iranian filmmaker, has a clear-cut conscience though, something not seen much in Hollywood, where its all clanging toys and Michael Bay-ish junk.

At Any Price is steeped in yet another ethical dilemma. An Iowa farm family headed by Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid, pretty excellent) is dealing with economic stress but still selling genetically modified seeds. He cuts corners by reselling the seeds even while corporate higher ups are circling him like sharks. His wife Irene (Kim Dickens) stands by her man, even though he's getting it on with Meredith (a terrifically feisty Heather Graham). What really gets to Henry is the apathy of his sons. His oldest if away climbing mountains in Argentina, while his youngest Dean (Zac Efron) aspires to become a NASCAR driver. Efron, who's been showing his chops in films as varied as Me and Orson Welles, The Paperboy and Parkland, gives a tender and wonderful performance in which he digs to reveal the inner strength of a weary heart. His scenes with Quaid are moving and electric. The tension between the two is palpable. Bahrani uses his own father-son relationship as a metaphor for America and how its institutions treat it citizens. In one great scene, Bahrani shows a group of Iowans singing the national anthem, showing each one individually to capture the conflicting emotions of faith and love for country and frustration at its broken promises. Where he falls short is indulging in a cliched plot device that only seems interested in creating drama rather than anything credible. First the film grabs us emotionally then totally ices us out. Too bad.
reaster28
December 13, 2013
I liked this movie. Did not care for the girl doing the father then the son, but I liked the story line.
August 28, 2013
Was destined to be a powerhouse smash success if it hit Lifetime. That's not what happened, but it's still pretty good.
July 17, 2013
A modern day Shakespearean-lite tragedy/morality tale of an Iowa farm family set in the highly-competitive world of agribusiness. Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid - In Good Company) is a moderately successful GMO pusher/salesman in southwestern Iowa who has high hopes that his golden child will take over his farm and business. When that said child up and leaves to climb mountains in South America, Henry has to pin his hopes on his rebellious, race-car driving son Dean (Zac Efron - The Paperboy), instead. Dean is highly aware that he isn't his father's first choice and his restless angst proves rather troublesome for the entire family. His worried but supportive mother (Kim Dickens - "Deadwood") does what she can to keep the family glued together even though she is (also) aware -- there is a lot of awareness in this film -- that Henry has a mistress (Heather Graham - Boogie Nights). When some of Henry's business practices come into question, their entire "empire" is put in jeopardy and some will try to keep it "at any price". The film starts rather slow but eventually won over my interest but it does take on a few-too-many tangents that make the story too encompassing -- there end up being too many storylines that might or might not go anywhere. While I appreciate the way this film ended -- it is a morality play -- the inclusion of so many of these side-stories (that ultimately mean nothing) is frustrating as a lot of the film ends up being a waste of time. The film is watchable and respectable but not much else.
Angelo Dean
July 10, 2014
2.5 Stars for this one, good performance from Dennis Quaid, the role is perfect for him. The movie is predictable

1 Star for Quaid, 1 Star of Efron .5 goes to, I don't just .5 (the missing piece I guess)

2.5 Stars!
May 15, 2014
Bahrani does disappoint with "At Any Price" , but it's nowhere near as bad as the rating here will say.
February 17, 2014
This movie just plain sucked. In almost the first scene Dean robs a store, then his brother decides not to come home because his family is so messed up, he loses his dream of racing, the dad is a cheating, lying bastard, he murders someone who wasn't even at fault and covers it up and has to live with the guilt for his whole life. On a side note the girl leaves forever and the whore doesn't have a n ending! The characters didn't give you anything to like about them and Dean ultimately had no redeeming qualities.
November 9, 2013
'Am I a happy man? How can I not be?'
Maksim
April 22, 2013
At Any Price may not be an inspirational American drama which should be seen at any price, but it is definitely an original and honest drama that works perfectly with its small scale and top-notch performance by its leading actor. Despite melodramatic moments and several unconvincing performances, the movie is a detailed depiction of modern farm life in rural America; it is relatively thought-provoking with its depiction of the nature of modern farming and it certainly challenges with the question that it asks: How far would you go to reach a target?
For Europeans, like me, At Any Price is firstly interesting with the detailed and lively portrayal of the life in the Mid-west and so called Corn Belt. The straight-forward beginning of the movie sets a feeling of brutal honesty and ruthless ambition which throughout the movie evolves into a story that describes the destructiveness of competition. While director Ramin Bahrani develops his social depiction of this specific industry and social sub-group, he educates its audience and steadily builds up his story.
The one and only actor who perfectly blends into Bahrani's delivery is Dennis Quaid whose performance as the obsessed with success Henry Whippie is terrific. Annoyingly arrogant, shallow and with no signs of being a gentleman, Quaid's performance is almost half of the movie's success. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast remains totally sidelined and nobody delivers a remarkable or even memorable performance. Neither upcoming star Zac Efron nor Heather Graham delivers performances which would not be forgotten short after the final credits. Both of them, never really seem to successfully blend in the story and seem too beautiful and city-like.
The overall lack of memorable cast, results in a fine and compelling story, which has no character development in it. This damages the movie, especially when towards the final thirty minutes, when the question of what is the price that we are ready to pay in order to protect our beloved ones is asked.
Nevertheless, At Any Price is definitely an interesting movie, which compels with its straight-forwardness and sometimes disturbing honesty when it comes to the farming in the Corn Belt. If you are in the mood for a B-drama with existential philosophical elements and dilemmas , At Any Price would probably please you.
October 1, 2013
Wow, what an over-dramatic piece of poop this was. Funny thing is, I love racing and movies about the current environment in agriculture, but not this turd. It tried to be important mentioning GMOs and came off as unsubstantial as "Days of Thunder"
Don't waste your time, even one of my favorite actors, Dennis Quaid is embarrasing in his over-acting performance. Next time Dennis, "read the script" you're better than that!
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