Another Round review: Mads Mikkelsen stars in ‘riotous and alcohol-filled’ drama

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Can you really improve all aspects of your life if you are somewhat intoxicated with alcohol most of the time?

This is the amusing yet thoughtful question at the heart of this comedy-drama from skillful Danish director Thomas Vinterburg.

Another Round, entitled Druk in Denmark, follows a history teacher named Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) who has stalled in all parts of his life, stuck in a fog of complacency with no lust for life.

It becomes clear to him that everyone – his colleagues, his disenfranchised students and his oft-absent wife Anika (Anna Bonnevie) – can see the rut he has found himself in and that he is a shadow of his former more vibrant self.

On a night out with his friends and colleagues Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe), and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang), Martin realises that he is not alone in entering a bit of a midlife crisis.

While drinking together, the group discuss a philosophical hypothesis that being somewhat inebriated and drinking throughout the day at all times will actually improve the human experience.

(L-R) Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe), Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) discuss their plan in Another Round
(Image: Henrik Ohsten/STUDIOCANAL)

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Making a pact to start drinking much more often – for 'research' purposes – the four men go on to see the impact on their lives. Yet, is it for the better or for the worse?

Treading a fine line between comedy and character study, Vinterburg offers a lightly provocative examination of Europe's relationship with alcohol through the eyes of four floundering middle-aged men.

Reuniting with the director of The Hunt, Mikkelsen delivers an initially passive but finely-tuned performance as Martin, which only grows increasingly expressive and fiery as the grand experiment continues in earnest. It is hard not to root for Martin as he finds his second lease on life.

The rest of the four friends all offer amusing yet tragic turns, with Bo Larsen particularly adding a fierce gravitas to increasingly reckless football coach Tommy.

A merry Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) teaches his previously disenfranchised class of teenagers
(Image: YOUTUBE/STUDIOCANAL)

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As the foursome embrace dancing, looser tongues, passion, and a more exuberant abandon, Vinterburg brings out the more physically comedic side of his performers.

When Martin appears to justify regular drinking to his students, he also cites historical icons and regular drinkers such as Ernest Hemingway and Sir Winston Churchill.

It is from here that we also see Vinterburg delve into satire as a montage of images showing modern political figures such as Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel grasping onto boozy beverages, along with footage of Boris Yeltsin's comical behaviour alongside Bill Clinton.

The message is clear that intoxication is certainly entrenched in everyday life of Western culture and right up to the upper echelons, but just how healthy is our relationship with drinking?

Martin engages in rapturous hedonism alongside his students in Another Round
(Image: Henrik Ohsten/STUDIOCANAL)

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Vinterburg offers no easy answers or singular tones, as some of the characters find immense positives from regular chemical release, while others leave tragedy in their wake.

The action builds to an electric finale that sees Mikkelsen offer an infectiously energetic display as the film's theme song 'What A Life' by Scarlet Pleasure kicks in and it is hard to not be swept along with the rapture on our screens.

Ultimately, Another Round breezes by with likable but affable characters and a naturalistic but knowing tone from one of Europe's finest directors.

Verdict

Another Round is a riotous and thoughtful study of alcohol consumption that balances comedy and character study, anchored by a versatile lead performance from a top-form Mads Mikkelsen.

Another Round (Druk) is showing as part of BFI London Film Festival 2020 and is released in the UK on November 27, 2020.

What is your favourite role from Mads Mikkelsen? Let us know in the comments below.

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