Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has great charisma—and great taste, as he turns up in one exceptional film after another. Another Round reunites him with writer-director Thomas Vinterberg and co-writer Tobias Lindholm, who collaborated so memorably on The Hunt. Once again their combined efforts give us a provocative film about a subject many people can relate to: drinking.
Mikkelsen plays a high school teacher whose life has become dull: he no longer communicates with his wife and bores his history students in school. Then he and three colleagues read about a scientific theory that man is born with a blood-alcohol deficiency. It posits that if one can maintain a 0.5% alcohol level one will function more “normally” and successfully.
Because they are schoolteachers they decide to chart their progress, to give legitimacy to this whimsical experiment, but it doesn’t take long for them to see tangible results. Mikkelsen becomes energized and focused in his classroom—to the surprise and delight of his students—and reaches out to his wife for the first time in years. All four men benefit from having a little buzz as they start their day.
The challenge, of course, is maintaining the scientific aspect of this investigation. Each of the friends follows a different course of action, with wildly varying results. Yet Vinterberg and Lindholm never lose their grip: the story takes surprising turns both humorous and sad.
Another Round is a breath of fresh air for anyone who has been starving for intelligent entertainment. It’s invigorating and completely credible, thanks to Vinterberg’s approach (in collaboration with cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen) and the performances of his leading actors: Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, and Lars Ranthe. Here’s a toast to them all.