“So, when you run around totally wasted, throwing up in bushes and alleys, don’t feel alone, because you’re in great company.”
Name: Another Round
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe, Maria Bonnevie.
Runtime: 117 mins.
IMDb rating: 7.8
My rating: 7.5/10.
Quick summary: Martin and three of his colleagues are feeling stagnant and burnt out in their jobs as high school teachers. Over a few drinks one night they talk about a theory from psychologist Finn Skårderud where he hypothesized that humans are born with a blood alcohol level a half milimetre too low. The jaded educators test this out in their own classroom, turning up tipsy and find themselves rekindling their love of teaching. However, when they push the limits of the study further they risk going off the deep end.
If you haven’t watched the trailer for this movie and have just my quick summary above for reference then you could be forgiven for thinking that it is a wild romp full of crazy drunken scenes. Indeed, the opening depicting a group of teenagers drinking heavily and playing drinking games is a blistering start to a fairly slow-paced movie. However, don’t confuse ‘slow’ with ‘bad’. This is a film that asks questions of its audience and allows the viewer to fill in some of the more existential gaps.
Mads Mikkelsen is one of the best actors around at the moment in my opinion. He often pops up in supporting roles like Galen Urso in Rogue One, Kaecilius in Doctor Strange and Tristan in King Arthur but absolutely shines when he is the main man. His turn as the out of sorts Martin who takes to being drunk every day a little too easily is extremely believable. There is a scene where his entire history class try to get him to quit as he is not invested in their class. You can see the hurt and shame in Mikkelsen’s eyes in stark contrast to the loose life in his eyes when he is slightly buzzed teaching the same kids.
I think it’s fair to say that many readers of this site have turned up to class or work hungover or possibly still drunk. It is quite the experience and most people don’t want to repeat it after doing it once. I also think that most of us would listen to the theory in the movie and be intrigued by it. If we maintained the same blood alcohol level of 0.05 (a couple of glasses of wine) and went about our daily lives, except for driving and operating heavy machinery of course, how would we get on?
This isn’t really a light-hearted movie and there are some heavy topics. As Martin and his colleagues get more lax and careless with their drinking their lives mostly unravel. Cheating, violence and suicide come to the fore so be warned before watching if these trigger you. In saying that, there are some brilliant scenes where the teachers rediscover their love of teaching. There is a hilarious scene where Martin and his friends go whole hog on their drinking and go beyond their limit. In a pub scene reminiscent of the Stables bar in University of Limerick on international night pre-Covid, they get absolutely black out drunk. God, weren’t those days great?
So, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, Another Round is a good watch but it’s not a ‘leave your brain at the door movie’. And it is in Danish with English subtitles so if that’s not your bag then leave it off. It is worth it for the final scene alone. Martin receives a promising text from his wife and despite being off drink following their debauched night out he starts downing everything around him once again. This culminates in Martin dancing a sort of drunk capoeira dance, which IMDb tells me is actually Mikkelsen himself! IMDb is great for little bits of trivia that I can tell my future partner while she tries to ignore me on the couch. Love ya honey!