Another Round Movie Review: Mads Mikkelsen sparkles in this intoxicating tragicomedy
A brilliant slice-of-life tragicomedy filled with heart-warming moments
Across cultures and traditions, one of the very few things that stay common is the practice of drinking. A victory deserves the popping of a bottle of champagne, a date calls for some fine wine, a party isn't complete without shots, Sushi goes with Sake, an ice-cold beer with a barbecue and the list keeps going. For most of us, life's best moments are seldom incomplete without our favourite alcoholic beverage in hand and unfortunately, the same can also be said about the worst times. Every time a person in pain picks up a glass of drinks, what's drowning in them are not just ice-cubes but also their sorrows. But what if you can drink to improve your quality of living? If that's a possibility is a question the Oscar-winning Mads Mikkelsen-starrer Another Round (Druk in Danish, meaning 'Binge drinking') strives to answer.
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Streaming on: BookMyShow Stream
Another Round is the story of four colleagues Martin, Tommy, Peter and Nikolaj (played by Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe and Magnus Millang respectively. When they learn how unmotivated their students are and how stale their own lives are, they, being teachers, decide to experiment on a theory of Finn Skarderud that goes - having a blood alcohol content of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed. Like any intoxicant, their behaviour of drinking during working hours, in the school, lends to some positive changes initially, only to go down the drain like stale beer. What happens when they go down that rabbit hole forms the rest of the film, which describes the pain and joy of a bunch of men who try to ride thru their mid-life crisis, on the rocks.
A bunch of teachers drinking their way to self-destruction could sound like a pale documentary on the evils of alcoholism. But director Thomas Vinterberg (who has also been nominated for the Oscars for the Best Director), comes up with extremely relatable everyday issues that become the four men's obstacle course and the resulting actions are peculiarly funny. With booze in their sippers and breathalyser in their bags, how these tutors pump alcohol into their bloodstream without getting caught by their colleagues and mentees form some of the best scenes of the film. Speaking about the best parts, the film neither tries to advise nor advocate the topics it broaches in the film. Another Round spares the judgemental stares and instead talks about friendship, family, growing up and making decisions.
This nuance comes in handy when the highflying lives of our leads take a plunge. The wake-up call -- right from a character peeing in his bed to another one disappearing for good -- hits them hard so bad that they can't afford to even cite hangover as a reason. When we finally witness the detrimental effects of becoming an addict, it leaves us to wonder what Vinterberg actually wants us to have as a takeaway, considering in a previous scene, one of the teachers make his pupil drink so he can do well in his exams. What's quite evident though, is the director's love for his Dogme 95 filmmaking movement which he co-created in 1995. Though not following it completely, he abides by some of the rules of the movement, like shooting in live locations and using handheld cameras. Vinterberg's technical take on Another Round is simple and natural yet elegant and sufficient.
Mikkelsen, who the story predominantly revolves around, plays a character that's a far cry from the suave and powerful characters he had previously played - like Le Chiffre from Casino Royale or Kaecilius from Doctor Strange or even Hannibal Lecter. The subtlety he brings into his character Martin, an average Joe, hits a part of you that can easily associate with him. His arc from a stone-faced jaded man to a free soul who channels his inner jazz ballet dancer makes the final stretch a treat to watch. The film works majorly because of such unpredictable moments that unusually feel personal. On the whole, Another Round is a brilliant slice-of-life tragicomedy filled with heart-warming moments. Coupled with a stellar performance, the film is sure to leave you with a satisfactory high.