AT ANY PRICE – TFF ’13 Movie Review
It takes some killer instincts to make it as an American farmer these days. Farming is no longer the idyllic western romp where you live off the land and are your own man – now it’s a cutthroat environment where you expand or you die. At Any Price takes this lesson to heart, following the Whipple family, comprised of Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron, as they try to survive as the Jameson family steals their clients and territories.
Shot among beautiful corn fields in quintessential America, Iowa, At Any Price is a fascinating look at modern Americana. Touching upon themes of Capitalism, the American dream, and even throwing in a bit of NASCAR, I can’t think of a more prototypical American film. While mistakes happen and some dirty moves are made, it shows that those who are sharks are the ones who will win out.
Zac Efron is fantastic as Dean Whipple. Bringing swagger to the first half is easy, but it’s the vulnerability he brings after his disappointment that makes him more than just a pretty face. And beautiful arms. But I digress.
When Dean’s aspiring racing career leads to no where, he starts to unravel. Distancing himself from his family and the corn business, he withdraws from his girlfriend and even cheats on her with his father’s mistress. That’s one way to interpret the old saying “like father, like son.” Then, one day his temper gets the best of him and an accident brings him and his father together. While this event could have lead to his complete undoing, it’s through his father’s support and love that he’s able to not go completely off the rails.
Him and his family are rewarded for being sharks. Rewarded for being ruthless. It’s not the nice guy who gets the girl, the farm, the money. It’s the shark. And I don’t know what message could be more modern American than that.
At Any Price hits limited theaters on April 26, 2013.