Dan Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
I think this might have just taken my top spot for 2020 releases. I watched this during another of the UK lockdowns and it just made me miss going out and having fun with my friends! It’s a fascinating look at not only friendship, but the way alcohol effects the confidence and liberation of people. It showcases that level of self power you need to have over your own life, not letting something like alcohol be a driving factor in how you function. It takes the good side and bad side, delivering both fantastically in an interesting and always captivating way.
It’s a rather unique tale. Detailing four friends who all decide to maintain a constant level of alcohol intake to see how it effects their working and social life’s. As someone who works in science and research, I loved how the narrative was surrounded by this scientific research paper they’re writing as a group. It feels like a rather unique and interesting way to thread the narrative together. The movie effortlessly manages to detail the fine line between alcohol unlocking that side of confidence and fun, but also the darker side of how it can take control of someone’s day to day life. The tonal shift is handled perfectly. It allows the emotional impact to hit home before slowly moving back to a more feel good and heartwarming finale.
This is the first Thomas Vinterberg film I’ve seen but I’ll certainly be looking out for his other movies. He manages to use plenty of style without it ever feeling overbearing to the narrative, with some great shots and direction. There’s a brilliant sense of fun for most of the run time, but also an air of tension, the suspense that something is going to go wrong, it makes every scene a brilliant balance of tones and keeps the entire film so captivating. He also writes a fantastic script, it keeps the film compelling and the dialogue flows so well, not only between the four friends, who’s relationship feels so believable and natural, but also between the more dramatic and more emotional family drama that is at the heart of the film.
All four of the leads are perfectly cast. Their chemistry together is electric, it really does feel like four friends having fun for most of its run time. The more dramatic elements are handled perfectly, with some brilliant darker scenes for the cast members to really showcase their characters. Mads Mikkleson is perhaps the stand out, he’s a charming, complex and intriguing character, the one who’s life perhaps changes the most throughout the film, with Mads delivering a pitch perfect performance throughout.
The film delivers on some brilliant comedic moments, and plenty of more heartwarming scenes but also manages to capture the emotion and drama when it needs too. It also has one of the best ending scenes that I’ve seen for a long time. A film I’ll certainly want to come back too, and one that will stay with me for a while.