Many of us would agree that 2020 peaked back in February when Bong Joon-Ho’s masterpiece, Parasite, won a historic 4 academy awards including best picture. Since then, despite lockdowns across the globe, many other outstanding international pictures have been released, hoping to maintain that global interest in global storytelling. One such film is Thomas Vinterberg’s new film, Another Round, or Druk, as it is pronounced in Danish, the films native language.
The film tells the story of Tommy, Peter, Nikolaj and Martin, four teachers and friends in Copenhagen who all feel unsatisfied with their lives in some way. One night when celebrating Nikolaj’s 40th birthday, the group discuss the work of physiatrist Finn Skårderud who theorised that the human body has a blood alcohol deficit and should really have a 0.5% level to improve social and professional satisfaction. Although just a causal topic of conversation, Martin played by Mads Mikkelsen, trials the theory one day at work. After the professional success of Martin’s day, the group decide to secretly test Skårderud’s theory together by maintaining a constant blood alcohol level of 0.5% or above.
Vinterberg is usually known for his sexual assault allegation dramas such as the Oscar nominated, The Hunt, also starring Mads Mikkelsen, and the dogma 95 masterpiece, The Celebration (Festen). Another Round is a surprisingly more uplifting offering from Vinterberg as he explores unorthodox solutions to the midlife crisis in what is an endearing and insightful dramedy. Another Round take a somewhat neutral approach to its unorthodox and rather controversial subject matter. The film neither condones, nor does it condemn as it provides both the pros and the cons and allows us, the audience, to decide what we think. In this way, Another Round is an engaging cinematic social experiment that perhaps we can all take something away from.
As well as the subject matter being engaging, so too are the films characters and the performances of those who play them, however, the film does predominantly focus on Mads Mikkelsen is its lead. Mikkelsen plays Martin, a history teacher who feels he has become boring. Like his friends, he hasn’t got the respect of his pupils, but neither does he have the respect of his wife. Mikkelsen’s performance is as exceptional as always as he delivers a subtle and rather internal performance that draws you into his character, and on this occasion, like him.
Although Mikkelsen’s costars aren’t given nearly as much development and focus, their performances and onscreen chemistry are outstanding. Vinterberg veteran, Thomas Bo Larsen, is excellent as Tommy, a PE teacher with nothing really going for him in life. Magnus Millang is great as Nikolaj, a psychology teacher who leads this experiment, writing a paper documenting their results, however, like Martin, he’s also in a rocky marriage. And last, but by no means least, Lars Ranthe does a grand job as Peter, a music teacher who has a very nice side story involving his support of a student.
Overall, Another Round is an absorbing insight into the psychology of the mid life crisis. The film finds Vinterberg delivering an unconventionally lighter, more optimistic offering, but one that was fittingly selected at Canne, won best film at this year’s London Film Festival and will compete and possibly win big at next year’s Oscars. With flawed yet endearingly written characters, strong acting and exceptional chemistry between them, Another Round is another winner for Larsen, Vinterberg and Mikkelsen.
Another Round is currently set for release on November 20th at the time this article was written.