This is an interesting movie that tries to do too much. A little heavy on the senses but if you like ethical dilemma’s which appeal to the conscience and get you involved in family drama that’s not your own but sure as hell feels like it is. That is the way director Ramin Bahrani works.
You will be introduced to Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) who owns a Farm and wants his sons to join the family business but both the sons, are pursuing their own dreams. Dean (Zac Efron) dreams of becoming a NASCAR driver whilst his older brother is away in Argentina climbing mountains. However, things aren’t all straight with Henry either. He’s had to double as a salesman for Liberty seeds and is now being increasingly threatened as his sales are being poached by a new competitor salesman (Clancy Brown) selling genetically modified seeds and then sneaking around and reselling them illegally as well. The corporate warlords are suspicious and are trying to sniff out the rat. He is also having an affair with a feisty Meredith (Heather Graham) while his wife Irene (Kim Dickens) is true to him (what a jerk!) The scenes between Henry and Dean are beautifully done with excellent true-to-character acting by the actors. You can feel the love and the stress that bonds and divides simultaneously. The farming business is also revealed to be highly competitive and Henry is shown to come under extreme stress when his operation comes under investigation.
Henry is shown to be a character who’ll struggle to keep his business alive at any price.. even against an ethical code of conduct and better judgment. He has no qualms about any illegal acts as long as it’s for the benefit of his own business. You feel almost like you can’t like the man but can still understand what’s pushing him over the edge of morality in his desperation to keep it all together and working. The last lap of the film actually does well for the character of Henry and also for the movie, even though Dean’s character may feel like it’s evaporated somewhat. With this one you’ll find yourself pushed to the emotional max and it isn’t well put together, but still I did sort of like the effort put into trying to make a movie that makes you think about how you would go about things were you faced with identical circumstances.