Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Running Time: 117 mins
Another Round (Druk) is a Danish film about four high school teachers who decide to test the philosophical hypothesis that drinking a certain amount of alcohol during the day will improve their lives.
I had a whale of a time with this film. Fantastically funny, emotionally riveting and complete with a perceptive and pitch-perfect commentary on the tedium of everyday life, Another Round is an absolute riot from start to finish.
And while the film’s premise may seem to set up a story that’s all about letting loose, Another Round is still stereotypically mellow in its delivery of that story. As much as this film made me laugh, its plot and drama are still very much the centre of attention, and that’s what makes it such a captivating watch throughout.
Following four middle-aged men working in a school who decide to test a hypothesis by drinking certain amounts of alcohol during work hours, the film really hits the nail on the head with the men’s cheeky but still surprisingly insightful experiment.
At the centre are four fantastic lead performances from Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe, whose friendship makes this a surprising buddy comedy, and whose transition from tragically downbeat to almost comically superhero-esque on the back of their binge-drinking makes them a brilliant quartet to follow.
Again, the way that Another Round manages to blend genuinely captivating and insightful drama with frankly ridiculous comedy is by far its biggest charm, as you too find yourself developing an interest for the men’s experiment, given that their results seem to suggest that drinking on the job is a miracle cure-all.
I’m not here to debate the veracity of that claim, but nor is Another Round trying to convince you of it. In fact, it’s almost like a bit of magical realism, as we see Mikkelsen’s character in particular grow from downbeat and depressed to confident and free-spirited with just a few sips of alcohol in the school toilets everyday.
It’s a really fun albeit equally interesting point to bring up, and while the movie still does bring you back down to earth with a more sobering view on the effects of heavy binge-drinking, its cheekiness in going so far with its almost perfect view of alcoholism is so much fun to watch.
Director Thomas Vinterberg doesn’t ever cheapen the film’s central drama for the sake of laughs, and this very much remains a stereotypically measured and quiet Scandinavian drama, not a far cry from the director’s devastating drama The Hunt.
As a result, Another Round delivers fantastic laughs and brilliant, gripping drama throughout in such a way that the film is just as intriguing to delve into as it is fun to sit back and laugh with. Complete with a quartet of fantastic lead performances, Another Round is a pitch-perfect bit of Scandinavian cinema, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.