Aronne Ibarra’s review published on Letterboxd:
I am not old enough to drink, but I already have on a couple of occasions. My parents let me but I've never been big on alcohol. We drink lite beers on Christmas or New Year's and sometimes on casual nights out. Before school shut down this year, we were on a batch retreat and I sat with a close friend of mine on the bus. It was midday and I was listening to some music on my phone when he silently brought out a thermos from his bag. He whispered to me that it was some strong local wine.
Under the nose of our teachers, he asked me if I wanted to try some. Confident in myself having drunk some alcohol in my life with the only bad case being a headache from red wine, I said yes and downed some. As the wine glided into my throat and into my stomach, I feel a satisfying and bolstering heat in my chest. It was an incredible new feeling and I found myself wanting more. We got off during a stop and away from our teachers, I drank a little more.
The heat in my chest and that bolt of energy, did I need it? There was no time to ask, hell, I wanted some more of that. I felt indestructible, with so much goddamn testosterone in my body. I wanted to do all sorts of shit I normally wouldn't do--shit that would give me five GTA stars in real life.
It was a crazy and unbelievable time, and it was a beautiful time to be alive and youthful. Sorry to write that long of an intro but yeah, Thomas Vinterberg's newest film Another Round is all about that feeling.
After also seeing Vinterberg's 2012 powerful social drama The Hunt earlier this year, I am now a fan of the Danish filmmaker. And as engaging and gripping The Hunt was, I feel like I love Another Round even more.
Another entertaining collaboration between Vinterberg and actors Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Bo Larsen, Another Round is currently my second-favorite of the year. The director has proven yet again to make something so fascinating and powerful out of a simple premise.
The film opens on a Kierkegaard quote about youth and love, the central themes of this literally and figuratively intoxicating ride. Four middle-aged teachers who now live an uninspired and stale lives conduct an experiment on the social and behavioral effects of raising one's blood alcohol content. In their own midlife crises but with the help of alcohol, the four men find themselves and their lives more enjoyable and productive.
Escapism. All this could only last so long. There is no always going up, and real life will inevitably pull them down. Some will win the war and some will blow their brains out. Alcoholism.
Another Round is a delightful dark comedy about the forbidden pleasures of life and the necessary compromise to enjoy some of those pleasures to get the most out of our boring lives. But only with regulation. You can lose yourself but you can't booze yourself, tough guy.
I think this film does a wonderful job at portraying both sides of the coin of alcohol consumption, though a bit uneven in some parts. It's a an enticing and invigorating but self-destructive lifestyle. I thought the movie was faithful to its central themes of youth and the love of it with its presentation, thus not fully exploring the slow process of recovery. It was one night of wild drinking and a sober one the next; while it does push the main themes, a few cracks start to appear in the meaningful depth of recovery itself. That part in the story felt rushed and unnatural but it's the only area where my flaws lie right now.
Mads Mikkelsen is an amazing actor, maybe one of the best working in the world today. He was terrific in The Hunt and this might just be his best performance since. Everyone was also on the same page and acted marvelously. One thing I love about Vinterberg and his actors is the sense of community and familiarity that build around the relationships of the characters, written and directed effortlessly. It's so easy to know who's who, who's with who, and why they behave like that.
On top of that, Another Round has one of my favorite endings this year. I'm a sucker for great endings and they often cloud my judgement of the film, but this film's ending is one great knot to tie everything together in a big fat epic circle. It also got me a bit emotional and I won't want to spoil anything. It's something you have to see to believe.
Another Round surprised me with its quality and depth for such a simple yet intriguing premise. It comfortably sits at number two on my 2020 list and I highly recommend it. Vinterberg's done it again and I can't wait for more of his future works. Great stuff and ya'll should check this out. Have a great day and stay cool, guys!