Another Round

 

starstarstarstar

 


Alcohol as medication underlies Thomas Vinterberg’s heady brew of a movie.

 

Another Round

   

The perils of drinking have been portrayed in one way or another as both comedy and drama in Arthur, The Lost Weekend, A Star Is Born, Days of Wine and Roses, Leaving Las Vegas, Smashed, Flight, etc. But never before has it been promoted as A Good Thing, as it is in Thomas Vinterberg’s serio-comic drama in which a group of teachers at a Danish school find a reason for doing something they would do anyway, only more so, with or without an excuse, and that is drinking during the day but only up to 8pm, to avoid the obvious hangovers from drinking at night.
 
They follow a proposition expounded by the psychotherapist Finn Skarderud who thinks that humans do not have the requisite percentage of alcohol in their blood. Drinking during the day will help them in their teaching, act as a tonic to boost their personalities and make them generally better people. Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) is a dull history teacher who cannot connect with his pupils or indeed with his wife and family at home. His friend, psychology teacher Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and physical education teacher Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen) and music professor Peter (Lars Ranthe) set out to test Skarderud’s theory. In fact it just seems like an excuse just to drink more in the name of research.
 
Of course it all gets out of hand and, whereas Vinterberg controls the highly comic passages when the group becomes incapable, the ultimate seriousness is not forgotten and although the guys are having a whale of a time, there is always a price to pay. So, if the film is not really about alcoholism itself, it does shed light on other problems such as getting older and the insecurities that come with it, the male midlife crisis when men lose their way and turn to bonding with their own kind, their male peers, instead of their families.
 
Mads Mikkelsen as Martin brilliantly exhibits all the traits of a man lost in the wilderness of time and he is well supported by his fellow cast members, an all-round exceptional and totally believable crew of misfits. Another Round leads to closure in which Martin, having again drunk too much, finds his true self again and is totally freed from his present dull condition by finding a kind of liberation again in a life-affirming coda. A sobering thought...
 
Original title: Druk.

 

MICHAEL DARVELL

 

Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe, Maria Bonnevie, Helene Reingaard Neumann, Susse Wolde.

                                                                                                                

Dir Thomas Vinterberg, Pro Sisse Graum Jǿrgensen and Kasper Dissing, Screenplay Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm, Ph Sturla Brandth Grǿvien, Pro Des Sabine Hviid, Ed Anne Ǿsterud and Janus Billeskov Jansen, Music Janus Billeskov Jansen, Costumes Ellen Lens and Manon Rasmussen.

 

Zentropa Entertainments/Film i Vast/Topkapi Films-StudioCanal.
117 mins. Denmark. 2020. Rel: 5 February 2021. Cert. 12A.