- 14 Jun 21
Another Round is in Irish cinemas on July 2.
Ireland, like Denmark, has a strange relationship with alcohol. Another Round, starring Mads Mikkelson of Casino Royale and Hannibal fame and directed by Thomas Vinterberg, explores how we interact with that substance. But more importantly, it's a compelling case study in friendships and communities.
Mikkelson plays Martin, one of four close friends teaching at a Danish gymnasium school - the equivalent of Irish secondary schools.
They are all going through somewhat of a mid-life crisis, with Martin particularly depressed with his family life, as he grows more distant from his wife and unable to focus properly in his history classes. This malaise and boredom is excellently portrayed by Mikkelson when he breaks down and tearfully vents to his friends at a 40th birthday dinner for Nikolaj, one of the other teachers.
After spending a night drinking and having fun together, the four decide to test a theory from a Norweigan psychiatrist that humans are born with a 0.05% blood alcohol deficiency. They proceed to drink slightly throughout their workdays, and find that their social relationships improve, along with their work lives. Martin somewhat rekindles with his wife on a camping holiday, and finds the confidence to connect with his students.
However, this takes a turn when they decide to test if drinking higher amounts provides more benefits. After a night of blackout drinking and debauchery, the teachers cannot cope with the social fallout, particularly when Martin's closest friend Tommy becomes an alcoholic, having separated from his own wife before the film's events.
Despite having some tragic elements to its ending, Another Round ends on an uplifting note, as a celebration of life and the bonds we make during it.
The film has a unique quality to it - in that it's a coming of age tale where the main characters are all middle-aged. It's far from the usual Zach Braff mid-20s angsty affair that has plagued cinemas for the past twenty years (although 2002's Garden State remains worthwhile, its paler imitations are massively overdone).
It serves as a reminder that being open and honest, and appreciating those around us, can be the best treatment for being dissatisfied or unhappy. Although alcohol can sometimes aid this, it's best saved for celebrating the important things in life, rather than serving as a substitute for them.
Rating: 5/5 Stars.
Nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Director and winner of Best International Film, Another Round comes to Irish cinemas on July 2.