“At Any Price”
Music By Dickon Hunchliffe
13 Tracks/Disc Time: 34:35
The film “At Any Price” which was released last week in limited release stars Dennis Quaid and Zac Effron that takes place In the competitive world of modern agriculture. Henry Whipple (Quaid) is an ambitious entrepeneur wants his rebellious son Dean (Efron) to help expand his family’s farming empire. Dean, however has his own dreams and sights set on becoming a professional race car driver. When a high-stakes investigation into their business is exposed, father and son are pushed into an unexpected crisis that threatens the family’s entire livelihood and some tough decisions will have be made from those choices. The film co-stars Kim Dickens (“Mercury Rising”), Heather Graham (“The Hangover”, “The Hangover Part 3”) and Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption”).
Writer/Director Ramin Bahrani, who directed the critically acclaimed film “Goodbye Solo” in 2008, tapped composer Dickon Hunchliffe (“Rampart”, “Winter’s Bone”) to write the film’s score after his admiration for Hunchliffe’s work with his own group “Thundersticks”. wrote an interesting and at times, dream like moody score that channels the work of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and composers, Angelo Badalamenti and Cliff Martinez, who’s score for “The Company You Keep” i recently scored. The music is predominately scored for guitar, trumpet, flugelhorn, drums and electronics and there are moments that the score really does work and features some wonderful guitar and tenderness to it. “At Any Price” establishes the score’s main theme with plaintive guitar motif backed by electronics which is dreamlike and tender and is the strongest part of this album and the score.
The score and the album is repetitious and the best material is the lush, dreamlike tracks based on the score’s main theme established in the opening album track and fully as the album goes along with the tracks “Trophies”, “Arca”, “Whipple Wants You”, “Confession” and “Home”, which ends the album on a very solid note. Hunchliffe also features some moodier and slightly dark material in tracks such as “Sermon” and “Crash” that do add a little variant on the theme, but stylistically it’s similar to the rest of the score. Milan’s soundtrack album is a brief, fast paced score in terms of its’ running time that doesn’t exhaust you too much unless you get tired hearing the same material after a short while. I honestly felt let down by it after the strong main theme start and it is the best track of this album to be honest. The rest does work and function for what it is and that is create mood and atmosphere without creating conflict for the on screen material. Outside of the film, it’s a score that most would mostly be turned off by to be honest because of the lack of variety and other thematic development. Other than the main theme which is fantastic, “At Any Cost” really doesn’t offer too much else and that is very disappointing because it the real potential to be something very memorable. Thumbs down (except for the main theme which is great).