The Reel Review

B-

Four longtime friends, all teachers at the same school going through various midlife crises, test an obscure theory – that if they maintain a constant level of alcohol in their blood during their workdays it will improve the quality of their lives, in this tragicomedy starring Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Arctic). 

Mads Mikkelsen in Another Round.

Writer/director Thomas Vinterberg dives head first into his provocative exploration of Danish day drinking, showing our foursome first gaining new confidence and a renewed sense of adventure as a result of their new booze-fueled work routine. But whether they want to admit it, this subversive pact, billed as an opportunity for them to inject a much needed spark into their stale lives, is actually an excuse to drown their own individual unhappiness.

Thomas Bo Larsen, and his soccer players in Another Round.

Not surprisingly, the fun soon takes a darker turn as the alcohol consumption increases and all four start experiencing various problems in their personal and work lives. Vinterberg keeps his predictable story relatable without becoming a goofy comedy or veering off into preachiness about the perils of day drinking. The four friends are convincing, Mikkelsen’s big finale is charming, and there are a couple of really sweet scenes with a shy young soccer player named Specs. But frankly the message – that a little buzz can take off the edge, but a lot can ruin your life – is hardly groundbreaking.

REEL FACTS

• Another Round is Denmark’s Oscar nominee for the 2021 Best International Film. Thomas Vinterberg also received an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Ida, Thomas and Nanna Vinterberg in 2013.

• Writer/director Thomas Vinterberg’s teenage daughter Ida, who had been set to make her acting debut in the film as the protagonist’s daughter, died in a car accident just days into the start of production. Vinterberg filmed Mikkelsen’s classroom scenes with her classmates and dedicated the film to her.

• Vinterberg and Mads Mikkelsen also worked together on their 2012 Oscar-nominated thriller, The Hunt. 

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