I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Features Editor
The debate about alcohol’s risks and benefits still simmers today, and Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg cooks up a fascinating discussion about it with his latest stroke of dramatic genius, titled Another Round.
Is it OK to drink during the day? Obviously not when you’re on the job. But Another Round isn’t as much focused on getting sloshed as it is on keeping your blood alcohol level at 0.05%. Why? One of the story’s characters says that a Norwegian philosopher claims that “humans are born with a blood alcohol content that’s 0.05% too low.” But if one sustains a certain level of alcohol intoxication, the belief is that all people would greatly benefit from it, including a significant boost in self-confidence.
Cheers! Four buddies and high school teachers (Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, and Magnus Millang) decide to put the theory to the test for various reasons, from midlife crises to lack of excitement and thrill.
Another Round may sound like the kind of film to bring you down. Admittedly, it does hit you in the gut here and there. There are times when it makes you fearful of your relationships getting too routine or that you aren’t excelling on your career path, especially as you watch these characters face these incredible challenges. But that’s also what makes the film such an, well, intoxicating experience.
It doesn’t go for the college humor by glorifying the stupidity that unfolds when someone takes too many swigs of the hard stuff. Vinterberg very much has his finger on the pulse of his characters. It’s quite apparent that the filmmaker is more about the people who drink than the act itself.
Another Round has a poetic rhythm, most notably during one scene that alternates between shots that showcase alcohol’s merits and demerits. Mikkelsen’s performance contributes to the film’s beauty as well. He’s so poised when it comes to his character revealing his vulnerabilities. Mikkelsen easily could have taken it in a loud direction, but it’s his quiet, reflective nature that makes his performance (and the movie itself) stick to the memory wall.
Partake in one of the year’s most well-acted and very best films. It’s thoughtful, compelling, and has a heart that fills your own with love, joy, and appreciation.
Now playing in select theaters and available on digital.