Another Round

Another Round

TIFF 2020

Tommy Vint and the boys are back and like their others, ANOTHER ROUND is a picture that captures the beauty and tragedy of life and humanity.

Vinterberg's dogma 95 background is all over this thing as every scene is crafted in the most natural of ways. He doesn't care about the guidelines of studio filmmaking here as I even noticed several scenes where the only light sources were coming from the windows as backlight which more than often forced these characters to be in silhouette for the master shots. I doubt this is for any purpose other than the fact Vinterberg wants to be as natural as possible and the rules of dogma 95 have kept him at his roots here. Beyond just capturing an objective reality, however, Vinterberg also creates clever moments of subjectivity with his use of shallow focus, which brought a loss of control to the character's sight when they're inebriated.

Alcoholism is one of my all-time favourite subjects and when I first heard about this project one thought that came to my mind was that this premise feels like something I'd tackle in a film. Vinterberg and the boys tackle it to near perfection as the dogma filmmaking paired with some of the best performances of the year make you feel like you're watching a Danish reactive documentary about drunk experiments. Some of these moments may feel a bit strange for some because of the drinking culture in Denmark and it was cool to hear Vinterberg and Mikkelson talk about their home country's unique relationship with alcohol in a Zoom Q&A after the picture. Part of me felt like at times the actors were behaving too drunk near the start for 0.05% but I could easily be wrong as it is different for everyone and there is no doubt the Danish homies did their research for this (I am no expert). Surely there was research done in a variety of areas, most notably the film provides some interesting insights, histories, and philosophies on alcohol intake and how being just a tad drunk during work hours can boost confidence and creativity while eliminating anxiety. I only wish ANOTHER ROUND explored these superficial ideas deeper since at times I felt like there would only be one short scene presenting the altered effect. Maybe this is because there are four characters participating in the experiment and there was just not enough time but another watch for me could also clear this up.

For lack of better words, this film is neither pro nor anti-alcohol and I wholly respect it for that. In a weird Scorsese fashion, this is a personal rise and fall story. That being said, ANOTHER ROUND feels much less one-sided than a Scorsese picture (nothing against Marty) since Vinterberg expresses that alcohol can bring upon tragedy or destroy one's life while recognizing that alcohol can be a catalyst for happiness. In one Malickian scene involving some lads playing soccer, Vinterberg perfectly captures the euphoria of getting drunk and how its influence can bring good upon someone else.

ANOTHER ROUND is less a celebration of alcohol than it is a celebration of life. It's about being in a mid-life crisis, being dead inside, and trying to feel alive again. This is something the film does brilliantly as it makes you feel dead inside just like Mikkelson's character (an incredible performance that I regret not talking about more in this review) until there are moments of great beauty. If it weren't for Cianfrance's magnum opus, I'd call this the best film of the year so far.

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