Half a decade after Zac Efron‘s last High School Musical outing, he’s still working on the challenging transition from Disney dreamboat to serious adult actor. And while he’s not quite there, he seems to be getting a little bit closer with every passing film. Neither The Lucky One nor The Paperboy were particularly well received, but they at least allowed Efron to try his hand at more mature material, and his supporting role in Liberal Arts earned some critical appreciation.

Perhaps Efron’s best shot yet at proving his chops comes from At Any Price, the latest drama by Goodbye Solo and Man Push Cart director Ramin Bahrani. Reactions to the film were all over the place after its Telluride debut last year, but for what it’s worth, our own Peter Sciretta called it his favorite of the festival — better, even, than Argo. Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Heather Graham, Maika Monroe, and Red West also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Ramin Bahrani‘s most accessible film to date ends up being my favorite film of the 2012 Telluride Film Festival (yes, besting Ben Affleck‘s Argo).

Ramin has developed a cult following from his three minimalist slice-of-life micro-budget films starring non-professional actors (if you havent yet seen Man Push Cart or Goodbye Solo, put them on your “to see” list). But with At Any Price, Bahrani is gearing up to step out of the film festival shadows and find an audience beyond cinephiles. Indie filmgoers may be turned off by this but I welcome Bahrani’s attempt to tell more expansive stories.

Dennis Quaid plays a fourth generation farmer trying to survive in a time when big corporations are pushing in and devouring the American heartlands. Fighting to keep his family afloat, and losing the battle of keeping his family unit together, Henry comes face to face with the consequences of his amoral actions.

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