Another Round

Another Round ★★★★½

A drunk Mads Mikkelsen dancing has just saved 2020. Thomas Vinterberg's Danish drama 'Another Round' follows four teachers (Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe and Magnus Millang) as they test a theory that man is born with half a per mille too little and thus suffer the various pleasures and consequences of being constantly drunk and the challenges it brings to their lives.

Another Round IS the best film of the year. Thomas Vinterberg's honest portrayal of alcoholism within Another Round is unlike anything I've ever seen as it depicts both the pleasures of alcohol whilst also showing the severe consequences it can have on a marriage, work and most importantly life. The film puts you through the ringer. Joy, happiness, excitement, that's all there. But also dread, sorrow and depression as you watch these four teachers journey through their increasing level of intoxication and experience the various downsides of how it can affect one’s life. Alcoholism isn't something 'Another Round' messes with, it shows both the shear happiness and slumbering sorrows that can come with it and subverts your expectations with its focus on brotherhood, friendship and ultimately grief from all parties as the story goes on. It's not a film to be taken lightly, the themes, focuses and plots that occur throughout the film are ones to be taken seriously and as much fun the film inevitably is, there's always that sense of downheartedness that surrounds the characters as you watch on as it begins to affect them all differently.

However, as much as this film takes some sombre real-life issues, it's filled to the brim with 'human moments'. We already know Mads Mikkelsen is a phenomenal actor, that's without a doubt, but the performance he gives here is unlike anything I've seen this year. The emotions on display, the way he conducts himself and overall huge screen presence he has throughout is outstanding to watch. Similarly, both Lars Ranthe and Magnus Millang give two extraordinary performances throughout as the chemistry that's shared between all four teachers is monumental as their friendship develops all the more as it progresses. Having said that, whilst we know Mads is the standout, Thomas Bo Larsen blew me away. His depiction of his character, his performance and the way the 'experiment' affects him, is where much of the emotion lies within Another Round and for me, that's all thanks to Thomas Bo Larsen utterly mesmerising portrayal. Individually each character work wonders, but as a group, they are simply incredible.

As the events play out and the film finally draws a close, the final quarter of an hour are undoubtedly, for me, the strongest of the year. The incredibly soundtrack 'What a Life' by Scarlett Pleasure was one I had on instantly (and one I still have on at the moment of writing!). The song mixed with Mads Mikkelsen absolutely mesmerising final display and the beautiful cinematography that's on display, has to go down as, not only one of the best endings this year, but an instantaneous favourite for me. I truly loved it and seeing how everything played out, the sorrow and joy of it all was captivating beyond belief as Another Round is as absorbing as is thought-provoking with its deeply rooted human storyline.

I have no problem telling you all that this, Another Round (or Druk which is its proper Danish title) is one of the best film I've seen from this year. It's an utter joy, mixed with heartbreak and enchantment that allows the audience to connect with these characters with every passing scene. I haven't seen much from Thomas Vinterberg's filmography, but his direction was utterly masterful with his ending offering an unlikely sense of catharsis, even though it isn’t truly happy, which turns the film into something fresh and affecting that allows Mads Mikkelsen to give perhaps his best performance to date. The substantive look at substance abuse, placing it in character context and avoiding dramatic hysterics, is one that allows it to connect on more of a human level and for that, it certainly has "Best International Feature" in the bag and it's one I recon could, and damn right should, get nominated for Best Picture as it fully deserves it. Another Round is one of those transcendent films that mix comedy and drama fantastically, it is, for me, one of the best film released this year thus far.
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