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Telluride, Colo. — Zac Efron wasn’t on hand for the Telluride screening of director Ramin Bahrani’s melodrama At Any Price, in which he plays the NASCAR-obsessed rebel son on an an Iowa farmer, played by Dennis Quaid. But Bahrani and Quaid raced from the film’s Venice Film Festival world premiere to introduce the film at Telluride’s Chuck Jones Cinema. “They said we were gonna have a gondola and that really confused us,” joked Bahrani, since in Venice gondolas ply the canals while in Telluride the gondola is a mountain ski lift.
Reviewing the film in Venice, The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney called it an “accomplished, well-acted film..an engrossingly serious-minded heartland drama, rich in moral ambiguity, that examines the challenging relationship of fathers and sons in the difficult terrain of modern commercial farming.” Rooney praised Quaid’s and Efron’s performances, comparing the film to Death of a Salesman.
The reception in Telluride was more mixed, though. The audience awarded the movie applause that was modest and respectful and which may have been influenced by the director’s and star’s presence. “The best film I’ve seen at Telluride, an Oscar contender for sure,” one audience member insisted. But the overall reaction was cooler. Some expressed exasperation over the film’s eccentric plot, and even its fans admitted to a large plot hole or two.
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