Another Round

Another Round ★★★★★

" What is youth? - a dream. What is love? - the content of the dream."

This is how Another Round opens. A poignant statement that filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg uses to ground his film and keep you in the moment. It's easy to see Another Round as a warning or call to sobriety - a lesson learned the hard way. It's not. It's deeper then that. Another round is, again, about staying in the moment and being present in your life. Alcohol represents many things here but this is not a lesson about the joys or sorrows of alcohol - The wise drink to remember and the lonely drink to forget. Vinterberg digs past that and unearths the "why" we are lonely and the "what" we seek to remember.
Mads Mikkelsen, who is outstanding here, plays a high school teacher who has lost himself, much in the same way many do when you get to a certain age and all your days start to blend together. The time when you realize that the spontaneous person you used to be, that idiot who would grab every night like it was his/her last, has disappeared. You have been lost. Mikkelsen's quiet command of the screen is heartbreaking at many times throughout the film, but he beautifully layers in dynamic joy, frustration and even bombastic explosions of alcohol fueled bliss, to create one of his all time best performances.
The story follows Mikkelsen and three other teachers as they embark on an experiment. The experiment is to keep their blood alcohol level over a certain point throughout the day and study the results. Things immediately change for the men but their paths diverge as the experiment continues. It's in this divergence that we start to truly understand what is important to each of them and how each of them have lost their way. Each character is given a fully formed and wonderfully created arc to explore the facets of these realizations.
Vinterberg and his cast create a deep and meaningful film that will resonate with anyone willing to understand that it is a story about fulfillment, love and presence. When you're young, these issues seem distant but one day, when your mind thinks your still 22 and your knees beg to differ, Another Round will hit you like a ton of bricks. A brilliant, emotionally beautiful and bittersweet ton of bricks.

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