Movie Review: Another Round starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen & Magnus Milang

Image Source: Variety

Another Round

Production Company: Zentropa Entertainments
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Producers: Kasper Dissing & Sisse Graum
Written By: Thomas Vinterberg & Tobias Lindholm
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen & Magnus Milang
Release Date: December 7 2020
Running Time: 117 Minutes
Certificate: 12A

Another Round reunites director Thomas Vinterberg with actor Mads Mikkelsen, as they previously worked together on 2012’s The Hunt. Now, Another Round is a boozy depiction of how we make excuses for our behaviour, especially when we’re desperate. The jovial good times always come with a crashing pseudo-hangover, be it in your career, home life or the community. Just as much a tragedy as a comedy, Another Round serves up plenty of laughs and profound heartache. It also explores the loss of self that simply growing older or starting a family can bring.

Synopsis

Mikkelsen plays Martin. He’s a man coming to the slow realisation that he may have been living life on autopilot for the past few years. And as a result, his passion and his marriage are slipping away from him. Not until a classroom full of the parents of the graduating class inform him that his teaching has been woefully ineffective does this reality set in. Then, we come to a birthday meal out with fellow teachers Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang). They discuss a Norwegian psychiatrist who postulates that humans are born with a blood alcohol level 0.05% too low. This inspires Martin to test out the theory. The draw of boosting confidence, minimising worries and reclaiming a youthful vigour is too good to pass up.

After sneaking a tipple or two to keep his BAC where it needs to be, Martin finds he is rejuvenated. His passion for history, and for teaching, return in great form. So he lets his friends in on his findings and they decide to join him in the endeavour. Only in the name of science, of course. Under the guise of research, the four teachers set out to uncover the mystery. Namely, are we born with too little alcohol in our blood, so that imbibing now and then will keep spirits up? The group sets themselves firm rules to maintain scientific integrity: no alcohol after 8pm and none on weekends. This is a workplace experiment only.

Analysis

Mikkelsen is captivating in his role. From ambivalent teacher to broken husband to jubilant drunk, he owns every moment he is on-screen. His drinking buddies fare no differently, all bringing their own humour and woes to their respective roles. It’s easy to predict an upcoming calamity is on the cards for these men, so merrily living life on the knife’s edge. But just when and to whom it will happen is hard to pin down. “Surely, they can’t get away with this? Surely, there must be consequences?” These are questions you may ask yourself, while reasoning that you can’t tell a story like this without some kind of comeuppance. Can you? Well, no and yes.

It’s obvious why so many people find it a challenge to understand just what message Vinterberg is trying to get across. Is he saying that a little alcohol never hurt anybody, or is he saying something more? Moderation is key of course. The trouble only begins when these characters get too confident within their abilities. And they then try to live their lives as being more than just a little tipsy. But beyond that, the film seems to endorse drinking on the job and using it to self-medicate depression and anxiety. At one point, Peter encourages a student to drink before an exam to calm his nerves. And yet nothing bad seems to come from it. For me, the point is to say we are all better off if we just loosen up. Try not to worry so much, and really talk to the people around us.

Summary

What isn’t tough to say is that Another Round is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. Although the premise may seem a little far-fetched, Vinterberg does a great job. He shows us how easily people might talk themselves into such an obviously terrible idea. A mid-life crisis is usually represented with obscene purchases or taking up new and dangerous hobbies. But rarely do we see desperate attempts at self-improvement. Frivolous and poignant in equal measure, Another Round is a libation which everyone should be hoping to partake in.

Notes

Target Audience: Ages 15+
Content: Strong Language, Sexual Content & Substance Abuse
Recommendation?: Yes

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good

Further Details

For more information about Another Round, click here.