‘Another Round’ is one of the best films from last year

An interesting look at alcohol featuring a great performance by Mads Mikkelsen

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By Scott Lerer, Collegian Correspodent

“Another Round,” titled “Druk” in Danish, was originally set to premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, but was delayed due to COVID-19. The film won the British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language and was nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.

The film is directed by Thomas Vinterberg who is most well-known for “The Celebration” —originally titled “Festen”— and “The Hunt” (2012) — originally titled “Jagten” ”— annd not to be confused with the 2020 American film “The Hunt.” Both are great, emotionally intense films. “Another Round” is much more light-hearted than Vinterberg’s previous most famous two films. The film has a lot of humorous moments and is never disturbing.

“Another Round” deals with alcoholism – a serious issue – in an appropriate way. The film isn’t a one-dimensional anti-alcohol propaganda movie at all. It also isn’t an alcohol endorsement; alcohol has both positive and negative effects on the characters’ lives. The film begins with young adults in Denmark playing a drinking game, showing how drinking is prominent in the country. The scene shows the excess and indulgence of this drinking culture. Later there is a scene with a lot of high school graduates drinking, which uses the same song as the opening scene. However, this scene presents the teenagers drinking in a celebratory way as them becoming adults. Alcohol affects the fate of all the main characters, for better and for worse.

The film is about four high school teachers who are friends. One night when celebrating one of the friends’ birthdays, the psychology teacher brings up a theory he heard that people become more successful when they maintain a constant alcohol level of 0.05 percent blood alcohol concentration. Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), a history teacher, decides to try the theory out and sees some positive results. His three friends follow. All four of the friends become better teachers and connect with their students more and they decide to do a formal experiment noting their results. As the experiment goes further and the friends enjoy it, they decide to increase their level of consumption. Various difficulties and conflicts ensue.

Mikkelsen portrays Martin, a high school history teacher who is failing at his job and his home life, very well. Most American viewers will recognize Mads Mikkelsen from his roles in American productions such as the television show “Hannibal,” the film “Casino Royale” and the video game “Death Stranding.” This may make some viewers see this role as Mikkelsen playing against type, but he has a much wider range than what many American audiences might assume. For his phenomenal performance in Vinterberg’s “The Hunt,” Mikkelsen won the Cannes Award for Best Actor

Thomas Bo Larsen plays Tommy, the school’s gym teacher. Larsen also appeared in supporting roles in Vinterberg’s “The Celebration” and “The Hunt.” Lars Ranthe plays the school’s music teacher. Magnus Millang plays the school’s psychology teacher. Martin’s wife, Anika, is played by Maria Bonnevie. They all have good character moments, but Mikkelsen’s character is clearly the main focus of the movie.

One interesting thing to note is how this film portrays the characters texting each other, or any typing on screens for that matter. At several points Mikkelsen’s character will text his wife, or one of the teachers will type an update into their report on the effects of alcohol. A lot of films will show a phone interface and have the text pop up on the screen. But the issue is those films will use a generic phone interface that looks fake or the moment in the film will come off as product placement. In this film, it just cuts to a black screen with white letters. It is clear, doesn’t waste time and doesn’t feel gimmicky.

The film has a great ending that has unfortunately been partially given away by a lot of the promotional material. The end also can be read in a more ambiguous way than the straight forward interpretation shown in the film’s promotional material. Overall, this is a very good film with the highlight being Mads Mikkelsen’s performance.

Scott Lerer can be reached at [email protected]