Kishore Karanam archive  

Another Round: A Novel look at Alcoholism

June 29, 2021.


I never watched any Danish films before, but this caught my eye when I heard that Dicaprio will be remaking this oscar winner. So, after a long time from its release, I finally had the chance to watch this film which stars the great Mads Mikkelson, and I liked it. With the terrific performances from the cast followed by the perfect direction from Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round or Druk is smart and ultimately moving.

The plot is new and exciting. Based on a belief that the human body is born with a low alcohol level, four middle-aged high-school teachers strive to maintain a 0.05% BAC at all times—buzzed but far from drunk. They try to test this theory proposed by Finn Skårderud, a psychiatrist, hoping that life would be better if they make up the difference. They draw up a plan, with hypotheses and research guidelines, chief among them that this is a day drinking experiment. No drinking after 8 pm (yes, they're teachers), and none on the weekends. It's purely an attempt to see if they become better at living the workaday parts of their lives when very mildly intoxicated.

As the experiment begins we see all four of them becoming more focused and joyful in their lives with Martin (Mads) becoming mysteriously alive, making his teaching more engaging by getting his students involved with the vibrant conversations and new ways to look at history. He is smiling now in a very own Mads way and even gets closer to his family. His other friends also find similar success as Peter encourages his students to sing more with their hearts and souls by making them close their eyes while singing (so he can throw back a drink mid-chorus), and also catches onto the anxiety of one of his students in a way he may not have given his previously detached approach, gym teacher Tommy is leading the young footballers to victory, and Nikolaj, who teaches psychology, is keeping a journal about their pseudoscientific "experiment".

As life seem to have gotten better for our gang, things start to go south as they decided to alter the terms of their experiment. The idea is If 0.05% works so well for Martin that he feels better even when he is sober, maybe he should go higher? And that's when you know it's a bad idea, and it turns out you're right, it is.

Thomas Vinterberg managed to keep the film afloat, thanks to Mikkelson's top-notch performance. “Another Round” surely does address the effects of alcohol, and that being drunk looks much, much worse on middle-aged people than it does on young people but we also see how social drinking can enhance life, enrich friendships. Overall, it's a great film dealing with the complicated subject through four morose high school teachers. The movie ends on a high note of hope with a sensational climax, which kinda looks like a burst of catharsis despite giving no direct answers.