another round

★★★

director: Thomas Vinterberg (the hunt)

starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Four high school teachers consume alcohol on a daily basis to see how it affects their social and professional lives.

Mads Mikklesen. Remember him? The Bond villain that wept blood and whipped 007 with a knotted rope where the sun don’t shine? Since those heady Casino Royale days he’s moved on to a variety of different cinematic and television acting fare from TV’s Hannibal to more dramatic fare. And Another Round is one such film. Although its tone is confused at times, Another Round artfully displays the delirious and dangerous sides of excessive drinking with a sublime performance from Mikklesen. 

 

Teachers Martin, Tommy, Peter and Nikolaj are colleagues and friends at a gymnasium in Copenhagen. All four struggle with unmotivated students and feel that their lives have become boring and stale. At a dinner celebrating Nikolaj's 40th birthday, the group begins to discuss psychiatrist Finn Skårderud, who has theorized that having a blood alcohol content of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed. While the group dismisses the theory, Martin, who is depressed due to troubles in his marriage, is inspired and starts to drink at work. The rest of the group eventually decides to join in, considering the ordeal an experiment to test Skårderud's theory.

 

Narratively Another Drink has the most clarity of theme and story in its first act as the four teachers, each in their own mid life stupor, embark on a collective experience with alcohol. But the film starts to lose its legs, pun very much intended, when it starts to divert away from the group toward each individual. 

 

It suddenly all becomes a little hazy. Is Another Drink supposed to be a critique of binge drinking culture or a warning against alcoholism? Or is its intention to display the liberating effects of alcohol as something that should be embraced? It is hard to gauge but in the midst of the changing themes there is enough gritty drama to sink your teeth into quite deeply. 

 

Mads Mikklesen is one of those rare actors that isn’t a Hollywood star but has the magnetism of one. He draws you in with his quietness and the sublime subtlety of his performance that even when the alcohol has robbed him of his best qualities you can’t help but back him.  

 

Although its tone is confused at times, Another Round artfully displays the delirious and dangerous sides of excessive drinking with a sublime performance from Mikklesen. 

★★★

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