At Any Price, directed by Ramin Bahrani, is set in the heart of Iowa farmland that’s home to a snake in the grass. The movie’s slitherer is Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid), an amoral seeds salesman, who’s been selling – and slyly reselling – genetically modified product and whose ledgers are as cooked as a pot of boiled corn. Fiercely competitive, he’s not above chasing down farmers in dire circumstances and buying acres of their livelihoods, at rock-bottom prices, literally from under them.
Dean (Zac Efron), Henry’s younger son, is keen on a professional stock car-racing career and wants no part of joining dad in the business. However, when a mishap results in his having to finding an alternative to the motor world, Dean demonstrates that, in all ways, he has the genetic chops to sink to his father’s level.
Cornfields, as far as the eye can see, once began as seeds planted below the surface. Covered with soil, they take root and emerge as new life. Pluto’s diabolical nature includes revealing what has been hidden, and the movie is a serious and clever interplay between what goes into and comes out of the soil, including human victims.
Genetic modifications, both in seeds and parents’ offspring, have consequences. Even Pluto, whose domicile is Hades, likes to come up for air but at the most inopportune times.
Astrology Film Rating: ♇ (Pluto)