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Mads Mikkelsen excels in Thomas Vinterberg’s profound yet playful midlife crisis tale about four high-school teachers seeking a better life on the lash.
Tragedy, comedy and Kierkegaard collide like the highs and lows of an alcohol binge in Thomas Vinterberg’s latest, which won the Bafta for best film not in the English language, and Oscar for best international feature. Mischievously unruly in tone (“scandalous” is Vinterberg’s preferred word), yet shot through with a flinty shard of sadness, it’s the Danish director’s finest and most personal film since 1998’s Festen – a heady cocktail of ecstasy and grief, buoyed by a superb ensemble cast. At the centre of its maddening spell is a magnificently modulated performance by Mads Mikkelsen, who excelled in Vinterberg’s 2012 drama The Hunt, and offers here the performance of a lifetime in a role that sees him dancing (literally) through the heart of darkness.
Mikkelsen is Martin, a bored, indifferent high-school teacher who, like his closest colleagues, is trapped in the creeping throes of a midlife crisis – a feeling that the glass is now half empty. Inspired by Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud’s suggestion that the human body has an inbuilt alcohol deficiency, Martin and three close friends embark on a reckless experiment: to see if daytime drinking can help them become better versions of themselves – to learn to live again.
Source: The Guardian