REVIEW: ‘Another Round’ finely captures society’s link with alcohol

The social enjoyment of having drinks among friends along with the negative impacts of alcohol are both explored nicely in this 2020 foreign film.

A movie from Denmark, “Another Round” follows four friends: Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe). All of them are middle-aged high school teachers who have settled down.

However, for their own reasons, they all appear to be stuck in a bit of a rut in their lives. Soon after celebrating Martin’s birthday, the four come across a university study that states humans have a blood alcohol level that is actually too low. With that in mind, they decide to put the study to the test and start having a few drinks during the day to see if they’ll function better.

This film is universally relatable, whether a person is from Denmark, or not. Subjects such as masculinity, relationship issues and how alcohol plays a role in society are understandable regardless of what country someone lives in, and they are all delved into in this film.

Director and writer Thomas Vinterberg accomplishes this with a strong mix of drama and humor. Just as it is in life, “Another Round” has its lighthearted moments as well as its share of heavy, emotional scenes, and the realness in how everything is portrayed makes the movie that much better.

When Martin has a bit of success teaching a history class with renewed spirit thanks to being buzzed, you want to cheer. As an audience member, you’re in on their experiment and can have a smile with them when things are going well.

At the same time, when things go wrong, they hit hard because of how attached one gets to these characters and how real the consequences are.

anotherroundblog
Courtesy Nordisk Film.

While the film captures these topics in phenomenal ways, though, it is noticeable that the film is a bit too much of a slow burn at times. The movie begins to drag a bit, when it doesn’t always seem necessary to do so, especially considering it is part comedy. This is a minor complaint, but it’s there.

Another issue is the hyper focus on Mikkelsen’s character. He’s clearly the most well known performer in the movie so it’s not surprising his character is so prominently featured. However, one wishes the other three main characters would have had their lives explored just a bit more than they were.

What helps the movie recover, though, is that all of the characters are well written and the lead actors do commendable work in their roles. The characters are unique in their own right and work well off each other, and the actors are all up to the task of bringing them to life.

This is one of Mikkelsen’s best performances for sure, and his co-stars are all quite good, too.

The four have a definite on screen chemistry together and it makes the friendship portrayed believable. Their acting succeeds in the shifts in tone as well.

When their characters are going through their more fun moments, they really make it work with levity. Meanwhile, their honest portrayals during scenes with hardships make the film all the more emotional.

“Another Round” definitely deserves its Academy Award nominations and any other recognition it receives. Despite a couple issues, this is a good film worth seeing. 4.35 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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