Written by: Thomas Vinterberg & Tobias Lindholm
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe
Alcohol use and consumption have become a cultural touchstone in almost every nation where some find it as a healthy complement and banned completely in others. Simply constructed as a substance but can manipulate the consumer in such a variety of ways. Another Round proposes an experiment of what would occur if an individual maintained at a specific blood-alcohol level and results go just about as well as you can imagine.
Timid and somewhat disconnected, schoolteacher Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) celebrates a dinner with his colleagues where one of them mentions a theory he read about. It states humans are born with a blood-alcohol level 0.005% lower than it should be. The men make a pact to maintain this buzz for the experiment and document their results.
Opening up with high school rager of excessive alcohol consumption, Another Round clearly lays out the culture in Denmark regarding drinking. A moment where high school seniors race around a lake while drinking and causing as much disruption as possible. By then cutting to the teacher’s lounge where the principal explains what occurred to the instructors demonstrates all you need to know about the culture. The premise, from the mind of writer/director Thomas Vinteburg, comes with so much intrigue because this kind of story could be adapted to almost every nation and how their drinking culture varies. I shiver at the thought of this being remade in America considering the alcohol consumption culture existing here as opposed to where this film takes place in Denmark. The specific tone that this type of story would take on would most likely not match the compassionate and effective utilization of the plot in this feature film. The way binge drinking gets addressed and spoken about in Denmark certainly has its differences as compared to the United States so the effective remake would need to be in the hands of an incisive filmmaker in order for the transfer to occur.
The rest of the plot plays out in just waiting to see how far these men can carry on maintaining a certain level of buzz before being found out. With this being a feature film, you can predict the other shoe will eventually drop but the journey to this particular point lays out this experiment in such a fascinating way. Having a certain blood alcohol level has a genuine impact on the four characters and most certainly on Martin. The beginning of the film displays a man so incredibly passive in his life that a slight gust of wind could knock him over. He’s barely there mentally but having a bit of a buzz raises his confidence in a way where he actually captivates his students in the classroom and engages with his family. As one would expect, things go off the deep end but the overall postulation of this film asks several great questions about the relationships between people and alcohol.
A vice for some can be a useful lubricant for others, which this film ultimately wants to say about the use of alcohol. With it beginning with the binge-drinking teens, it shows the level where consumption can be dangerous, but through it all, the use of alcohol allows for the characters in this story to create memories together. Whether it be the race around the lake or Martin finally getting the liquid courage to give a damn about his life, having a healthy relationship with his substance remains the ultimate goal. As we know, the addictive nature of alcohol makes it more difficult for some more than others to build this healthy association. Not everything is rosy when finding the proper balance, and it gets adequately displayed in the way the narrative progresses.
Combining together once again, Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Vinteburg do something quite special in this feature. This story certainly hits close to home for Vinteburg, which demonstrates his exquisite skill as a filmmaker in his ability to lay out this story amidst the personal pain it could cause him. Vinteburg allowed Mikkelsen to really go for it in this feature all culminating in the final scene of the movie, which may be one of the greatest sequences ever put to film. From the music choice and everything visually dazzling, it all comes together so well to conclude the story and provide a visual summation of the film’s theme overall. Such a wonderful director-actor duo and I hope they continue to create together.
A valuable experiment providing much intrigue all wrapped into an entertaining feature film, Another Round has everything one could want from this story. Despite some minor nitpicks, this film hits its themes in a meaningful manner and ultimately succeeds in trying to convey a potentially serious topic in a manner where it makes sense in the narrative. A wonderful collaboration overall with a final scene I could watch on repeat for a long time.