'Another Round' Features One Of The Best Performances Of The Year
The Danish film Another Round, like a lot of great movies about people, is fairly simple on its face. Four middle-aged men, all of them high school teachers, decide to test a theory that humans live with a blood alcohol level that’s actually just a bit too low.
This goes about as you might expect—the men begin by having a glass or two of wine before work, and maybe a bit during the day, just to keep a constant slight intoxication, and that’s pretty successful. They’re more engaged with their students, more creative, more outgoing, generally all the things you are when you’re a bit tipsy. But of course it doesn’t stop there, as they decide to double it: and ok, yeah, maybe it’s a bit hard to concentrate now and then, and maybe there’s a wall or two they run into that they wouldn’t have otherwise, but by the same token, it’s kind of a blast. And, then, they go too far.
For us, at least for a while, this really is a lot of fun to watch. But let’s look at what happened: A bit of drinking worked! But of course it wasn’t the alcohol. The alcohol was simply a disruptor, something to shake the men out of their ruts. They desperately needed to learn some things about themselves as people.
“Men self-reflecting” is hardly an unusual topic for a movie, but I was surprised by how much Another Round shook me. Maybe it’s because I’m old enough that I can no longer pretend I’m not middle-aged. Maybe it’s because I understand parts of these men better than I wish I did. Or maybe it’s because at the center of it all is Mads Mikkelsen, who gives one of the best performances of the year. Mikkelsen has such a striking face that he often ends up playing sinister characters. But here, he’s simply a man who’s lost most of his passions, his connection to his wife, and his sense of self. But you can see his pilot light is still on. It’s a gorgeous, subtle performance filled with empathy and humor, and when Mikkelsen finally breaks free at the end of Another Round, it’s as much as I’ve enjoyed any single moment this year.
Another Round is available for streaming rental through the Salina Art Center.