Seeds of Success
Like his daddy and his daddy before him, Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid - What to Expect When You're Expecting) has taken over the farm and he hopes to one day have one of his sons, Grant (Patrick W. Stevens), take over from him. But the farming business is more competitive than ever with others such as Jim Johnson (Clancy Brown - Pathfinder) vying over the same customers and areas, always trying to have the biggest territory. For Henry success is more important than anything leading to him coming under investigation for certain practices. But Henry's need to succeed at any price has rubbed off on his youngest, Dean (Zac Efron - The Paperboy), who is desperate to escape his father and the farm by becoming a racing driver. But a series of events see Henry and Dean joining forces.
As with most movies, I read a brief synopsis for "At Any Price" before watching it and what I read made it sound like the sort of drama which wouldn't haven been out of place on a channel which aired made for TV dramas. It sounded like one of those dramas where a father's passion for the family farm had caused a rift with his son who was desperate to escape but who through a series of events changed his mind, bonded with his father and saved the farm. Trust me when I say that "At Any Price" isn't like that at all and is a movie about three people and how far they will go to succeed.
Now what does that mean? Well we see how for the ambitious Henry success is not only being the biggest seller of the seed he farms but having one of his sons take over the expanding family business like he did. And Henry's need for success will see him break the rules and the law, living with the consequences and doing what ever it takes. But we see how this has rubbed off on to Dean whose desire to escape by being a racing driver sees him not only putting others in danger but also breaking the law. Yet the most interesting aspect of this is Henry's wife Irene, played by Kim Dickens, as despite being the typical housewife is willing to overlook things to keep things going and that includes knowing that Henry has been sleeping with someone else. It makes this far from the family drama it might have sounded and more a tale of greed and a family farming empire.
But "At Any Price" is far from perfect and unfortunately Dennis Quaid's characterisation of Henry ends up over powering the movie. I can see what the intention was, to make him the farm boy turned crop salesman who is a little greasy, boastful and kind of stuck using the techniques of 20 years earlier but he gives him too many mannerisms which distract. It sticks out more because everyone else in "At Any Price" be it Kim Dickens as Irene down to Clancy Brown as his competitor all play their parts in an ordinary way, which for me worked more than Quaid's tick filled performance.
What this all boils down to is that "At Any Price" ends up an interesting look at the cost of success and what three people will do to succeed. But it is a movie which has some noticeable issues, none more so than Dennis Quaid's performance which sadly over powers the movie.