Another Round

Another Round ★★★★

BFI London Film Festival 2020

#12 - Another Round (2020)

Sebastian: You must accept yourself as fallible in order to love others and love life.

In Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round, a group of high school teachers, struggling for creative inspiration at work and struggling to control their lives at home, decide to live at a slowly increasing level of intoxication to counteract the human body’s half per mille deficiency in BAC. Though the root of the men’s endeavour is ostensibly in science, and they use the premise of constructing an academic report to excuse their continued pushing of their physical and mental boundaries, there is to be no doubt in our minds that what Vinterberg is evincing is the innate human need to seek supplementation for our perceived lack. We drink not to raise our BAC by a fraction of a percent, but in the hopes that drinking will cure the problems we see in ourselves and in our lives. We drink to feel happier, to feel bolder, to feel connected, and to feel free. In controlled measures, alcohol can spur us on to moments of might and provide a strong kick of vitality that carries forth in our sobriety. But when you seek the high time and time again, you have to climb higher to get there, meaning the fall that follows is greater as time passes.

Vinterberg’s film is neither comedy nor drama, neither character study nor situational observation. Another Round is a constructed reality in which we see the gamut of human glories and fallibilities, in which we see Mads Mikkelsen’s Martin dance free as a bird and in which we see him lay on cobbles bleeding from a drunken fall. Aided, abetted, and acquitted by a fantastic supporting cast including an especially poignant turn from The Hunt co-star Thomas Bo Larsen, who plays a PE teacher who heads straight past contended inebriation and headfirst into oblivion, Mikkelsen at the centre of the film and under Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm’s watchful eyes and brilliantly naturalistic screenplay possibly puts forwards his greatest performance yet in a career packed with class acts.

The final sequence in this film, coming as it does at the end of a rollercoaster ride of wild, euphoric highs and cold, sobering (in every sense of the word) lows, is possibly my favourite of the year so far. Life isn’t a series of three-act stories, but rather an improvisation, a dance perpetually in motion that flies and falls time and again over its duration. We are, for our flaws, only human. And I can drink to that!

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