Director: Ramin Bahrani. Cast: Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens, Heather Graham. 105 min. Rated R. Drama.
In Bahrani's fourth feature, Quaid plays an Iowa farmer who follows the "expand or die" motto. He initially projects as a sleazy corn seed seller, sweet-talking his customers into iffy contracts. But then, he's just trying to meet his old father's high expectations, and push the family legacy onto sons who dream of Nascar-racing and mountain-climbing. It's heartbreaking how everybody sees right through the man, how he just stares into oblivion when he finds himself in a crushing bind, how he looks just like ... us. The film has some flimsy moments, but I was pleasantly surprised at Quaid's incredible performance.
PS: Bahrani, who also made the mesmerizing Goodbye Solo, was labelled by Roger Ebert as "America's best new filmmaker". Here's his four-star review on this movie.