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At Any Price - Printable Version

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RE: At Any Price - mirandagirl - 08-29-2012 04:36 PM

Hoping and praying for good reviews tbh

RE: At Any Price - mirandagirl - 08-30-2012 04:16 PM

At Any Price is going to the Telluride Film Festival

Quote:A number of films will head directly to Telluride from their world premieres at the concurrent Venice International Film Festival: Xavier Giannoli ’s comedy Superstar, which looks at what happens when a man suddenly becomes famous; Ariel Vroman’s The Iceman, a dramatic feature in which Michael Shannon plays the real-life Mafia assassin Riochard Kuklinski; Ramin Bahrani’s At Any Price, in which Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron play a father and son brought together to defend their family farm...


Plus later they quote Michael Pollan's notes in the Telluride guide:

Quote:AT ANY PRICE takes us on a harrowing journey into the modern, post-Monsanto farm belt. This is a place where the pressures on farmers to “expand or die,” as one character puts it and to rat out their neighbors creates a world in which good men find themselves resorting to desperate measures to maintain their hold on the land and a way of life that is falling apart.

Now for some excerpts from the production notes...

Quote:The fiercely competitive world of high-tech agribusiness is the backdrop for AT ANY PRICE, a drama that melds timeless themes of fathers and sons, ambition and rebellion, morality and survival, with a sharply de-romanticized view of modern farming. “I spent about six months in the Midwest observing the life of farmers,” says writer/director RAMIN BAHRANI about his heartland portrait. “I’d ride with the farmers in their massive 48-row air-conditioned GPS planters and they’d talk to me, almost like a therapy session. A lot of the stories and emotions in the movie came from those conversations with real farmers.”


“Like a lot of people these days, we’re very interested in food—where does it come from? Is it processed? What are we putting into our bodies? And the king of processed food is corn. There’s a collision between our collective romantic idea of farming and heartland values, and the reality that farming is a big, cutthroat business. It has dramatically changed—it’s not local guys in overalls plowing the land; it’s businessmen running multimillion dollar operations with very advanced technology. On my first trip out to Iowa, every farmer I met told me the same two phrases, “Expand or die” and “Get big or get out.” It seemed like a metaphor for American society, for the values that have led us to disaster. In many ways, believing in those mantras perpetuated the housing crisis, and the global financial meltdown. It’s a dangerous philosophy for life that is being exported to Europe and beyond.”


In his headlong pursuit of profit, Henry’s corporate crime— nearly his ruin, but his moral crime... totally shatters the act he has been playing and his illusions that he’s living a good life. “Henry and Irene are disturbed and haunted in ways that Dean may not be. But they get away with it,” says Bahrani. “And that’s the culture of the country right now. Politicians on both sides helped the banks get away with it. Corporate and political greed is on steroids. Screw people over and you’ll get away with it—you will even be rewarded! And this is a problem, a real problem. ‘Getting away with it’ will haunt the Whipple family for the rest of their lives.”

Quote:The Second Son

The character of Dean, the underappreciated second son, traces a trajectory from rebel desperate to escape the family legacy to conspirator desperate to keep the legacy going. As Dean, ZAC EFRON takes on a classic archetype and makes it his own. The character of Dean, struggling to break free of small town roots and family obligations, demands formidable acting range and shades. Says Efron, “The key to Dean for me was to figure out the relationship with his father and brother—resenting one and loving the other, his feelings of abandonment and his urge to break free. He's a renegade younger brother who wishes he could leave like his older brother did, but he's confused about his life and his place in the family. I enjoyed acting the dark side of Dean, and trusted Ramin to guide me through the experience.”

Dean’s dreams of stardom on the big-league racing circuit extend the story into another aspect of Americana—and blast white-knuckle suspense and action into the movie’s storyline. “Race cars are Dean’s escape from the mundane,” says Efron, who admits: “To be honest, racing scared the heck out of me. However, we had great instructors and after a few laps, I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Driving the rally car through the cornfield was insane.”

Although his character’s name and plight might invoke another young actor who played the moody protagonist of EAST OF EDEN, Efron says, “I was really inspired by Paul Newman in HUD—he’s a prodigal son who’s into fast cars too.”


RE: At Any Price - elle1234 - 08-31-2012 12:56 PM

Sounds like a very good movie-I hope they do whatever it takes for all of us to see it!

RE: At Any Price - MARGARETL - 09-01-2012 09:46 PM

HERE Is Another Review With A Spoiler.TongueHeart

Dean (Zac Efron) wants to be a NASCR driver to escape his rural existence. Dean sees his father’s dubious ethics first hand and doesn’t want to drawn into his world, but at the same time is loyal to his mother Irene (Kim Dickens) and aware of his place within the small-town world.
Grumpy Dean (Efron rarely gets to smile here) gets his big chance to prove his driving talents, but an unnerving track incident sees him lose his nerve and is faced with reassessing his future. He pushes away young girlfriend Cadence (a lovely debut by Maika Monroe) and has a sexual encounter with Meredith, but more importantly finds himself drawn to his father’s side as he tries to fend off a seed company investigating his working practices.
His new found determination leads him to a dramatic incident that while finally bringing father and son together also locks them into a moral decision that sees them complicit in a dark secret. The final scenes play on Henry’s face as he realises the road he has taken, though frustratingly the film never places any real sense that Whipple father and son have deep regret or remorse and are certainly never brought to account for their actions.

RE: At Any Price - mirandagirl - 09-06-2012 02:45 PM

Reviews thus far

THR Reviews David Rooney:

Quote:The characters played by Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron in At Any Price could almost be contemporary American agricultural family counterparts to Arthur Miller’s Willy and Biff Loman. Their conflicts don’t resonate on the same scale as Death of a Salesman, but Ramin Bahrani’s accomplished, well-acted film is an engrossingly serious-minded heartland drama, rich in moral ambiguity, that examines the challenging relationship of fathers and sons in the difficult terrain of modern commercial farming.


Particularly impressive is Quaid, who goes beyond his usual easygoing masculinity to convey the craggy gravitas of a man fixated on building his legacy and heedless of the compromises that entails. It’s to the actor’s credit that Quaid refuses to soften a blowhard character whose surface affability masks an encroaching unscrupulousness. Efron does equally strong work. Continuing to distance himself from his origins as a pretty-boy teen idol, he brings an intense, brooding stillness to the screen here, simmering with the frustrations of small-town entrapment.

Hitflix review Guy Lodge:

Quote:It put me more in mind of the muscular Hollywood melodramas crafted by the likes of Nicholas Ray and George Stevens in the 1950s, back when star-driven character dramas about middle American insecurities were still big business -- and not just because Bahrani's improbably secured the services of dreamboat Zac Efron, who looks more like a studio raffle prize circa 1957 with each passing film.

Bahrani doesn't romanticize the human values of this faintly out-of-time society -- a late-film gesture of folksy generational baton-passing from Henry to Dean rings disturbingly and deliberately false, given the secrets being guarded by this point -- but he's content to spend time on problematic protagonists who aren't patronized as either local heroes or matchstick men of tragedy.

The performances are on much the same page. Efron does some solid, creditably unlikeable work here as the impetuous Dean, and Dickens brilliantly elevates her tersely written role his as his careworn mother, socking the equivalent of the Laura Linney moment as the film's finale turns eerily "Mystic River" in tone. But it's an ideally-cast Quaid, whose performance could well net some awards attention if pitched right by Sony Pictures Classics, who has to shoulder the bulk of the film's moral burden, as he's gradually forced out of his rehearsed, sitcommy "American everyman" patter and into a subdued admission of an actual everyman's shortfall between self-worth and self-doubt. There is, to requote a vexed Italian critic with a slightly different emphasis, a lot of America in this film.

The Playlist review Oliver Lyttelton:

Quote:It’s a film on a fairly intimate scale, but dealing with big, modern themes – the cost of the American dream (as the title might suggest), the destructiveness of competition, the sacrifices parents make for their children and vice versa, and what people will do in order to survive. And being told in the form of an good old-fashioned melodrama, closer to “Giant” or “Death Of A Salesman” then anything else, it risks being unfashionable, and indeed the film was the first we’ve seen in Venice to receive a few scattered boos as the credits rolled.

We’d certainly suggest that those boos are unfair, even if we don’t unreservedly love the film...

Efron starts strongly, very reminiscent of twenty-something Tom Cruise somehow (maybe it was just the race driver uniform), but the strain sometimes shows as his character moves into self-destructive inarticulacy. It’s probably his best performance to date, but James Dean he ain’t, at least at this stage.

First showing review

Quote:Nearly every aspect of At Any Price is spectacular, and Bahrani does not miss a single detail. From the very start, which opens with Super 8 cam footage of the family growing up, to the score, to the performances, to the intricate story itself, to the human relationships and characters. Even what the local community thinks of them, and the dynamic relationships between farmers and customers and corporations, it's all there, and all accurately portrayed. It's beautifully shot, tremendously acted (by Quaid and Efron) and honestly, very affecting. The emotional journey this film took me on was phenomenal, and I did not expect it at all.


Bahrani's cast in At Any Price, despite containing some of the first well-known actors he's used, like Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, even Heather Graham and Clancy Brown, all melt into their characters, delivering powerful performances. Quaid gives one of the best performances he's ever given, and newcomer Maika Monroe (as Efron's young girlfriend) also stands out quite a bit, along with Efron. Believe it. Actors, even those who've given mediocre performances in the past, can be improved by a talented director who knows what he's doing, and inherently knows the story and all the characters in it top to bottom.

Variety review

Quote:The two leads are in fine form here: Quaid poignantly reveals the jumble of insincerity and good intentions beneath Henry's boisterous exterior, while the callow streak that Efron has often displayed as an actor has never felt as raw, vital and emotionally explosive as it does here. Before it reaches a full-blown Sturm und Drang pitch, the tense father-son dynamic feels believably rooted in a long history of resentments and misunderstandings, yet it's also complicated by Dean's willingness to defend his dad against those who seek his downfall.

Guardian review

Quote:It's an unusual premise and some of the acting isn't bad, but the story is messy and unsatisfying with a plot-hole you could drive a dozen combine harvesters through, the ending is an outrageous fudge and the lead performance from Dennis Quaid is strange to say the least – for which responsibility must probably be shared between director and actor.


Perhaps oddly, Zac Efron is the one showing us how it's done: a decent, focused performance that isn't trying too hard.

Indiewire review

Quote:Given real struggles to convey, Quaid delivers some of his finest acting in the movie's closing scenes, his furrowed brow pointing to a pair of focused eyes that say a lot more than the script's rampant issue-based dialogue. Efron keeps pace with a less demanding but equally tense turn that easily tops anything else in his comparatively shorter oeuvre.

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RE: At Any Price - mirandagirl - 09-08-2012 01:46 PM

Roger Ebert's review

Quote: Ramin Bahrani, the best new American director of recent years, has until now focused on outsiders in this country: A pushcart operator from Pakistan, a Hispanic street orphan in New York, a cab driver from Senegal working in Winston-Salem. NC. His much-awaited new film, "At Any Price," is set in the Iowa heartland and is about two American icons: A family farmer and a race car driver. It plays Sunday and Monday in the Toronto Film Festival.

This is a brave, layered film that challenges the wisdom of victory at any price. Both of its central characters would slip easily into conventional plot formulas, but Bahrani looks deeply into their souls and finds so much more. He finds a father and a son who are both challenged to question the assumptions on which they have based their lives. Yet this is not a "message picture," its theme is never spelled out, and it communicates by the most effective means, life experience. It evokes elements of "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Death of a Salesman," and how it moves from one to the other is subtly persuasive.

Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron star, in performances that both use and challenge their screen personas. Quaid plays Henry Whipple, who farms more than 3,500 acres and also represents the Liberty Seed Co., which sells copyrighted genetically-modified seeds. He inherited the business from his father and hopes to pass it along to his son, Dean (Efron). Quaid's winning smile is famous in the movies, but never has it been used to better effect than here, where it has a slightly forced, even desperate quality. It's as if he's running for office.

Henry is the kind of man who will attend the funeral of a neighbor, express his genuine sympathy, and then try to buy the rights to the man's land right there at graveside, without missing a beat. He finds himself in trouble with Liberty Seed, and at home--where his older son, Grant, has run away from the family to climb mountains in South America, and Dean would rather be a NASCAR driver than a farmer and salesman. Henry's wife Meredith (Kim Dickens) is a good woman, loyal and patient, and there's much she needs to be patient about.

There is a lot more to the movie, including repercussions from the land sale, implications involving copyrighted seeds, Henry's relationships with old neighbors, and the death of the son of a rival. All of this you will discover in the film, which isn't a simplistic fable but novelistic in its events and characters. I'd rather focus on the moral transformations of Henry and Dean.

For Henry, life centers on the fortunes of Whipple Seeds, and a battle for control of sales in a nearby county. For Dean, life centers on regional race tracks that could provide a stepping-stone to NASCAR. Boldly, shockingly for an American story, by the end of the film both men discover there are some things they will not do to succeed, some steps they are unwilling to take. It exists in a landscape populated by dozens of Hollywood films in which the heroes unthinkingly murder countless people to achieve their goals (and they are the good guys). The buried code of many American films has become: If I kill you, I have won and you have lost. The instinctive ethical code of traditional Hollywood, the code by which characters like James Stewart, John Wayne and Henry Fonda lived, has been lost.

Dennis Quaid gives one of the performances of a lifetime, and it is important to note that he is not a hero here, but a flawed man with selfish values, a man for whom business success has seemed desirable no matter what its human cost. Zac Efron, as his son, is more targeted in success on the track, but he comes to realize that he and his father are both making the same mistakes.

Ramin Bahrani was born and raised in North Carolina, of Iranian parents. He has a deep feeling both for traditional American types and more recent arrivals. In "Goodbye Solo" he gave us a 70-year-old, hard-bitten, no-nonsense white man and a naturally cheerful taxi driver from Africa, who find themselves disagreeing about whether life is worth living. Red West, the onetime Elvis bodyguard (!) who played the old man, plays the Whipple family patriarch in "At Any Price," again representing a more traditional way of seeing things.

Bahrani has used the same cinematographer, Michael Simmonds, on all four of his films. They found locations near DeKalb, IL for their Iowa farmland, and the film's visuals look effortlessly authentic. This isn't a movie set of a farm, but a working farm, representing a considerable financial investment, hard work, heartbreak and sweat. Henry spends hours in the air-conditioned cabin of an enormous combine, checking the crop prices on his cellphone as his land slides past like a backdrop. Then there's a little scene where Henry's wife Meredith takes some potatoes from her kitchen garden, and the film establishes its closeness to the earth.

None of Bahrani's films are simple. They inspire reflection. When this film played at the Venice Film Festival a week ago, one British critic complained that the Efron character's racing career "ultimately peters out." That suggests the critic understood exactly nothing about the movie. If it had ended with Dean Whipple winning a big race and becoming a NASCAR champion, that would have signified that "At Any Price" was just one more simple-minded formula picture. But this film doesn't wrap things up in a tidy package. It is a great film about an American moral crisis.


RE: At Any Price - elle1234 - 09-08-2012 07:21 PM

This film sound so good!-looking forward to its release in the good old USA!

RE: At Any Price - elle1234 - 09-10-2012 12:28 PM

Reading some of the reviews-quite a mix of opinons-but in my book Zac could out do James Dean anytime!!!!!And hes better looking!!!!

RE: At Any Price - d. b. wilyumz - 09-30-2012 10:06 PM

Another extract (the Zac-related parts) from a Toronto Festival review:

"Zac Efron has spent the last few years increasingly diversifying his career, and has done an excellent job of recasting the image that he could quite happily have settled for and been successful at. Instead, he started shifting gears in 17 Again, took on a drama like Charlie St. Cloud, has a great little role in the upcoming Liberal Arts, and will soon be seen in Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, alongside Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, and Nicole Kidman.

"Ramin Bahrani’s ‘At Any Price’ is an excellent further example of this recent trend, switching gears and going for something more challenging, different in spades to his earlier films, showing us just how strong a dramatic actor he is as well.

"Starring the brilliant Dennis Quaid and Efron as the father-and-son leads, At Any Price is a moving drama that lives absolutely in its characters....

"Quaid and Efron are brilliant in the leads, with the former giving a strong portrait of a father willing to do anything to get ahead in his business life, only to discover that he is doing it at the cost of losing his family, and later realising what that means for him. Efron, too, is stellar as the young Dean, giving further proof of what a fantastic actor he’s becoming, and an indication of where his career will be heading in the years to come. During the Q&A of its North American premiere, Efron spoke of his hopes to do more roles like this, and that would definitely be something to look forward to."

RE: At Any Price - mirandagirl - 10-05-2012 11:14 PM

People see he is a good actor