FIN STREAM REVIEW: Another Round is a bittersweet, exhilarating pill to swallow

Thomas Vinterberg’s latest directorial effort is the incredible, multi-layered Another Round (Druk).

A film with a difficult set of subject matter, it sweeps in and out of catharsis and destruction as we explore the exploits of four middle-aged friends who test a theory that their lives will improve if they maintain a consistent alcohol level in their blood.

In equal measure a celebration of libations and an exploration of what alcoholism can do to families and careers, the strength of the film is that it shows, and never editorializes.

Filmmaker Vinterberg lays things out, as they are, and gives us a balanced, delicate portrayal of four men seeking something more in their lives, for better or worse.

All of them high school teachers and yearning for a different life in some way, they strike up a camaraderie in their experiment, and actor Mads Mikkelsen in simply outstanding in his understated turn as Martin.

Martin has a wife he no longer connects with and children & co-workers who find him boring. Lost is the passion and intrigue from his glory days. So when a few drinks a day prove he might be able to get out of his rut and change his life, he reluctantly goes after it.

There’s a desperation in his journey, unlike those of friends Tommy, Peter and Nikolaj. He needs this to work, because his world is close to collapsing in. He’s not coping — he’s using alcohol as his crutch.

Mikkelsen is Oscar-worthy here, with a cast around him that is more than up to the challenge. Expect an Academy Awards push for both him and the film in the Foreign Language category.

4.5/5 Stars

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