At Any Price
Ends tonight, May 23. Contemporary agribusiness, genetically modified seeds, aggressive domination of local markets, the obliteration of traditional farming—Ramin Bahrani’s film sounds like a companion to this year’s Promised Land, but it’s also a fitfully stormy melodrama set in an Iowa family’s farming empire. Henry Whipple (a stressed looking Dennis Quaid), fourth-generation patriarch, farms 3,000 acres, deals GMO seeds to seven neighboring counties, and badgers his two grown sons to help push the family businesses to larger and larger success. What results is less a social-protest movie than a lukewarm tragedy that might be called “Death of a Seed Salesman.” Henry is only partly a mid-western Willy Loman, but he does have two rebelliously competitive sons, including one (Zac Efron) whose aspirations to NASCAR stardom provide an extra plot point. Pageant Theatre. Rated R.