Another Round won the 2021 Oscar for Best International Feature Film and the BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language. Thomas Vinterberg, writer and director, takes a look at drinking culture in his country. Druk, ‘binge drinking’, is the title of the film in Danish. Despite the serious topic, Another Round ends on a high. It concludes with an exuberant dance performance, an expression of freedom, by Mikkelsen. The very talented actor started out as a gymnast and jazz ballet dancer.
History instructor Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), PE coach Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), psychology teacher Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and choir director Peter (Lars Ranthe) must all contend with the cruelty of time as they get older while class after class of pupils remain the same age. They’re surrounded by virile young men and women, the glorious teenage abandon a depressing contrast with the spouses, kids or post-divorce solitude they have waiting for them at home.
Over dinner to celebrate the big 4-0 for Nikolaj, Martin tells his friends of an intriguing article he recently read in which the author posits that the brain’s natural blood alcohol content is slightly negative. The idea is that a human being could unlock their full potential by being one or two drinks deep at all times, leading to latent wellsprings of confidence and creativity. They decide to give this a whirl, but rationalize their attempt to perk up their monotonous lives as research, laying out their plans for controlled profligacy as an experiment complete with the sort of unwieldy title that published papers always seem to have. To us, they are clearly deluding themselves. They will take a little longer to arrive at this realization.
Director-cowriter VInterberg makes a wise move and slips right in between the two expected conclusions for the film, neither releasing Martin and his pals from their self-destruction as fully reformed cases nor sending them into a spiral of dissolution. After severing ties with his wife, the de facto protagonist Martin does manage to dry out and turn a corner, and the final scene offers him a chance to get his old life back.
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