An Exhilarating Ride & Sober Story ... Not to be Missed.
Another Round (Thomas Vinterberg) - It may be cliche to say this is an intoxicating ride of a movie, but it's true. Although the premise of four middle-aged men testing a theory to maintain a certain daily blood alcohol level to improve their disposition, sounds a bit odd, even off-putting and definitely destined to failure, instead it soars with creativity, poignancy and delight. The drinking and the drinking culture of Denmark is in the foreground or the catalyst for the film’s deeper meaning and goals which are the importance of one to reclaim life’s purpose and passions by more healthier and traditional methods, such as communicating, therapy, etc.. Leading the ensemble cast is the tremendously talented, Mads Mikkelsen (“The Hunt,” “Hannibal”) who plays Martin, a lifeless history teacher and out-of-touch husband and father who initially takes apathy to a new low.
He handles the character’s large arch and various stages of depression and inebriation with aplomb. What is most alluring about this specific character study goes beyond the drink and the drunk, but rather a man grappling with the loss of connection to his career, family, wife, and appetite for life. What should make this film a lock for foreign category awards, is that it is an absolute window into the culture it is portraying. This includes the characters, the music, and even the exterior and interior settings of waterways and boats; modern, minimal Danish furniture and households. Writer/director Thomas Vinterberg, forever known for his stunning directorial debut, “A Celebration” (1998), affirms his unique talent in focusing on a singular, seemingly simple story and masterfully building on life’s complexities.
While much has been said about the film's unexpected and thrilling last scene of the director capitalizing on Mikkelsen's professional moves by having Martin explode into dance, it's only the cherry on top. Come for the close, but enjoy the ride from beginning to end. Like the characters portrayed in the film, "Another Round" is initially perplexing and intriguing, then becomes dark and real, while closing on an exhilarating and life-affirming note. It is as fun and vibrant as it is sobering and compelling.