Director: Thomas Vinterberg Run Time: 117 min. Release Year: 2020 Language: Danish
Starring: Lars Ranthe, Mads Mikkelsen, Magnus Millang, Maria Bonnevie, Thomas Bo Larsen
Charming and surprising up until its electrifying, invigorating final moments, ANOTHER ROUND is a tale of mid-life crisis unlike the others. Drinking alcohol is both a huge problem and a national pastime in Denmark. Despite, or perhaps because of this, four middle aged men – all burnt out teachers at the same high school – decide to test a philosophical theory that a small consistent increase in one’s blood alcohol level leads to a better more complete life. The theory goes that humans are actually born with an alcohol deficiency and that making up for that with constant drinking in moderation opens our minds to the world around us, diminishing our problems and increasing our creativity.
For history teacher Martin (Mikkelsen) and his three friends, this tantalizing theory offers the possibility of reconnecting with the spirit of their younger selves and so they decide to create a ‘scientific’ study with themselves as guinea pigs. The initial results are positive – each experiencing a newfound confidence and easygoing nature that benefits them both personally and professionally. And, when they push the boundary even further, their results continue to improve and the group feels alive again. As the units continue to be knocked back, however, some of the participants go off the rails and it becomes increasingly clear that some bold experiments carry severe consequences.
In the hands of a less deft filmmaker, ANOTHER ROUND could easily become a maudlin mess, but Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration, The Hunt) and co-writer Tobias Lindholm (The Hunt) keep the story grounded in reality. It resonates with the regrets, triumphs, faults, and humanity of its subjects – never judging or debasing them. Full of rich emotion, humor, and a touch of tragedy, ANOTHER ROUND never becomes melodramatic, remaining connected to reality while respecting the outsized ambitions of Martin and his friends.
Winner – Best International Feature Film at the 2020 Academy Awards