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At Any Price (Blu-ray Review)

20 Aug, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 8/27/13
Sony Pictures
Box Office $0.38 million
$30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for sexual content including a strong graphic image, and for language.
Stars Zac Efron, Heather Graham, Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Clancy Brown, Red West, Chelcie Ross, Maika Monroe, Sophie Curtis, John Hoogenakker.

A sobering view of the travails of modern agriculture, At Any Price takes viewers inside the Whipple household — all-American and idyllic at first glance, but embroiled in strife when you dig a little deeper.

Patriarch Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) is struggling to maintain the family farm’s place at the top of the dwindling food chain in rural Iowa. One would think he’s got it made with two sons to help manage the family business, but his eldest son and star athlete, Grant (a barely there Patrick W. Stevens), is sowing his wild oats exploring and climbing a mountain in Argentina, and his rebellious son Dean (Zac Efron) has big dreams of becoming a professional racecar driver.

Irene (Kim Dickens) is there as the backbone of the family, offering encouragement to her stressed-out husband and support to her dogged son. It’s intriguing to watch her and the other family members’ response to an unfortunate set of circumstances that exposes a dark side to their bucolic living. In doing so, writer-director Ramin Bahrani presents a gripping character study on how people respond when backed against a wall.

Quaid does a remarkable job, as does Efron, as a man who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep up appearances. However, it’s the film’s ending that will stick with viewers and surely spark discussion.

The Blu-ray Disc also includes a commentary with Bahrani and Quaid; a candid Q&A from the Toronto International Film Festival in which Bahrani and the cast discuss preparing for the film and memories from the set; and rough rehearsal footage.

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