Another Round is an in-depth look at four teachers’ need to introduce some excitement and happiness into their mundane and ritualistic life. The 2020 Danish-Swedish drama film, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, star Mads Mikkelsen who portrays a real and authentic version of a man who is slowly seeping into a depressive rut of a life. The story follows these four friends who are stuck in very mundane daily lives and who decide to try an experiment to bring a little excitement to them. The experiment involves drinking throughout the day to maintain a blood-alcohol level of 0.5%. This means that these four men are drinking alcohol throughout the day, from morning, through the work day, and all throughout the evening. Not gonna lie, this plot synopsis had me very intrigued.
I was most pleasantly surprised by Mikkelsen’s performance, which is as solid as it gets. It was an inspiring and profound portrayal of a man in a desperate state that goes to extreme ends to bring some excitement into his life. His performance is uplifting and heartbreaking and will have you feeling everything that he is throughout the film. Granted, the whole time I was half expecting him to eat a human organ or something, but he will always be Hannibal Lecter to me, so I don’t fault his performance in this movie for that.
I, along with a lot of other people who have seen this movie, thought the scenes featuring the four friends drinking together to be insanely entertaining and fun to watch. When the experiment first begins, the friends turn to alcohol as a lifeline, a way to bring some happiness into their lives. Soon after, we are shown the negative effects of high alcohol consumption, whether it be the physical side effects or the emotional and social toll it takes on the families and their relationships. The negative effects begin to escalate and the alcohol consumption turns from a salvation to a heavy, dark toll. Relationships get ruined, lives are destroyed, and yet the film ends in what seems to be a contradiction of those negative effects.
While it does show the horrible effects of alcohol consumption on a person, i think the film is also very confused in its messaging. Where I draw issue with the film is what I think its main criticisms will be… What is it really trying to say about high alcohol consumption?
On one hand, it shows a destroyed relationship between husband and wife as a result of this drunken experiment. On the other hand, it shows a teacher offering alcohol to his student to help him perform in his exams. It shows a teacher becoming a model educator by simply maintaining a 0.50% alcohol level. While the argument can be made that there are enough of the consequences of alcoholism shown throughout the film, the final scenes seems to go against all of those lessons learned. Don’t get me wrong, the final scene is a very beautiful and moving one to watch, but to me it went against the progress and the arguments that the story was building throughout the film.
The film seems to be saying that you can become a better version of yourself by consuming alcohol. I think this messaging can be very dangerous under the wrong eyes and it’s why I couldn’t love this as much as so many others seemed to.