Title: Druk (Another Round) Director: Thomas Vinterberg Writers: Thomas Vinterberg (screenplay), Tobias Lindholm (screenplay) Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe
It is said that humanity’s natural and, therefore, ideal state is constant intoxication. Constantly, as in all the time. Humans, it is said, are born with too little alcohol in the bloodstream. Just look at some famous achievers from history. Observe Winston Churchill, who drank and chain-smoked cigars all through the 2. World War to a victory against the German Reich. Observe Ernest Hemingway, who wrote some of history’s greatest works of fiction, often while completely drunk.
Meet history teacher Martin (played by Mads Mikkelsen) and his friends. Martin is tired, gradually losing his battle against a full-blown midlife crisis. He is boring. The world around him seems to slip away from him. His marriage, or what is left of it, is in shambles. He rarely sees his wife these days, as she is working night shifts as a nurse. His sex life is non-existent. Life is just one drab day after another. Something must be done.
“I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.”
One of Martins’s friends comes up with an idea. The Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud was the first (and maybe only, to be honest) to ascribe to the theory that a person is born with too little alcohol in their blood. Martin and his friends (all with their own daily struggles) decide (after a few drinks, I might add) to test this theory. Will a constant state of intoxication bring happiness to their otherwise dreary lives?
As a fan of science fiction and fantasy films, I must admit that I am more used to seeing Mads Mikkelsen in bigger blockbusters. I know him from his work in Star Wars, Marvel, and even the excellent video game Death Stranding by legendary video game creator Hideo Kojima. However, I was thrilled to see him in Another Round, outside the beaten path of my cinematic comfort zone. And although Mads Mikkelsen is the driving force behind this alcohol-fuel feel-good comedy, he shares his time in the spotlight with his friends Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe), and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang). In addition, Martins’s estranged wife is played by Maria Bonnevie.
“I drink to make other people more interesting.”
The experiment begins. The four friends will now try to keep themselves moderately intoxicated in their daily lives and report their findings. And to no one’s big surprise, life gets easier, more enjoyable. Martin’s history classes become full of energy and humor. His marriage is again filled with passion, even love. The lives of his friends, both at work and home, receive similar boons from their boozy experiment. Everything seems to go their way, for once.
However, as is often the case in life, too much of a good thing can be bad. The four friends soon decide to up the dosage to see if this brings them even more joy and success and even experiment without any limits. Tragedy, not unexpectedly, follows. But Another Round delivers one of the most uplifting and positive, even cathartic finales I have seen in the film, delivered by the insanely charismatic and soulful Mads Mikkelsen. There I sat, grinning like an idiot with tears streaming down my face.
“Beer is the proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Another Round is an emotionally strong, at times even jarring film. It examines the problems that come with over-indulgence of alcohol to a certain degree but does so without moralizing or pointing the finger at anyone. Danish director Thomas Vinterberg expertly balances humor with tragedy without making it embarrassing or hard to watch. The result is laughter and tears, often at the same time.
Another Round is not meant to be a serious examination of the dangers of drunkenness. Rather, it is in many ways a celebration of the joys of alcohol and the happy drunk. And even though some people might feel triggered by this casual celebration of drunkenness, for the rest of us with a normal and positive view on alcohol, Another Round is just another inspiration to party.