In Copenhagen, four forty-something teachers are drifting through life. Fearing that their lives have become boring and stale, all of them discuss a radical theory. Psychiatrist Finn Skårderud has espoused that by having a high blood alcohol ratio it will make you more happy and relaxed. Thinking that it might solve his marriage problems, history teacher Martin starts to drink at school. When his life suddenly improves, all four of them then decide to commit to a blood alcohol ratio of 0.05% with no drinking after 8 pm. However, how much contentedness can they safely consume, when another bottle always seems to promise more?
... discards its feel-good comedic clothes for a more dramatic wardrobe, so expect to laugh, cry and even wince a little.
Teaming up with The Hunt‘s director Thomas Vinterberg, Mads Mikkelsen has once again struck gold in a midlife crisis drama that touches upon a dozen different subjects and beyond. In playing Martin, a man who is as bored with himself as students and his wife are, Mikkelsen‘s middle-aged teacher is a stranger to who he used to be. Opening with an intervention whereby his students no longer want to be taught by him, Martin could find himself out of both a job and a marriage. All of which leads to a fateful fortieth birthday celebration for his friend Nikolaj as played by Magnus Millang. Watching all of his friends knock back increasingly elaborate and exotic forms of alcohol, Martin’s hurt is gradually unlocked as he joins in – and it’s a deeply affecting scene. A naturally gifted and beautiful actor, it’s really incredible how Mads Mikkelsen manages to communicate such a palpable sense of vulnerability so early on in a movie.
With the acting bar now set high, Thomas Bo Larsen as Tommy, Lars Ranthe as Peter and Magnus Millang as Nikolaj all join in a searing drama that always threatens to tip matters over the edge. Weirdly though for a film which is about functioning alcoholism and the effects that it can have and what part that it plays in Danish society, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting something cold as well.
Drawing you in, Icarus-like to the good things that happen to the four men and their self-made experiment, Another Round commendably charts a deft course between trivialising and sensationalising its subject matter. When the film starts out, it’s a bit of a laugh. Firmly pursuing a better life through chemistry, there’s an undeniable pleasure to watching four forty-somethings lose control and revert back to youthful playfulness. That said, what Another Round is to be commended for is steering away from romanticising drunkenness like The Hangover movies do.
Always present, be it in the pallor of Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s cinematography or Janus Billeskov Jansen’s score, a fall is always waiting, ready to catch the boys as they come off the high. This is because, inevitably somebody’s going to catch fire if they stay out in the sun too long and, like Thomas Vinterberg‘s The Hunt, you never really quite see it coming.
Another Round discards its feel-good comedic clothes for a more dramatic wardrobe, so expect to laugh, cry and even wince a little. You see, with vintage performances from Mads Mikkelsen and all of those around him, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll forget this journey down the rabbit hole that stares back at you. Additionally, that said, if you’re a fan of Fat Boy Slim’s Weapon of Choice video, let’s just say there’s a real treat waiting for you at its end.