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.
I like this movie a lot and consider it underrated. The cast is wonderful and the narrative development is effective. Another reason I like it: I'm more or less from that place. I totally recognize the midwestern community that is borderline rural/urban. Small town but not really insulated from changing times. I was almost shocked by how well the filmmakers nailed that.
Dennis Quaid gives a career-highlight performance as a highly-driven, personable corn farmer. Zac Efron plays his rebellious stockcar driving son, who'd rather race than raise. It's all about Quaid's character and he creates a nuanced, dynamic performance. Other than one seemingly random seduction, the writing and direction are effective. This isn't a lofty drama with oversize emotions and overstated performances, but a quietly compelling portrait of a well-intentioned, but flawed father whose ego and ambition test his family's commitment.
If At Any Price overstates its points, they are still worth making. And the hot-wired performances by Mr. Quaid and Mr. Efron drive them home in a movie that sticks to your ribs and stays in your head.
Bahrani is brilliant at small gestures and the way they can speak volumes, but in At Any Price he’s aiming for grand tragedy, and he doesn’t yet have the knack. The pacing of the final act is uncertain; the epic sweep doesn’t arrive.
The audacious ending, though unjustified by what had come before, was clearly something mainstream Hollywood would not have tolerated. Yet the 90 minutes in between, a mass of symbols and improbabilities so great they provoke outright laughter, made me wonder whether aliens stole Bahrani’s brain.
Though well-researched and competently acted, At Any Price doesn’t risk much, having neither a thesis nor a resolution. Like an awkward hug between estranged relations, there’s a lack of confidence in the execution.
At Any Price is a dramatic movie of a family..which extends to test the relationship between a father and son. Denis Quaid is brilliant overall and Zac Efron has also made his mark with this movie.
I read the content of this film is more drama thriller category would classify as a family adventure movie. Just because it is a family, not a family, and this is the adventure of the movie is very far away. Once watchable.