Another Round Review – Cheers to a Sobering Experience

Another Round

Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud came up with a theory that humanity was born with a 0.05% deficit in alcohol in their blood. Thus, to find a kind of physiological balance, a person should drink enough alcohol to make up for that proposed absence. In Another Round, four middle-aged friends decide to test Skårderud’s hypothesis as a way to help improve their lives because to them, there’s more to gain from this experiment than there is to lose. That’s just how stale their lives are.

As you can imagine, the film begins as a playful comedy as the guys go about their daily lives slightly inebriated. The film is at its best when it is showing the short-term positive effects of alcohol. The group discovers they may be onto something as everyone’s lives seem to improve — at least, on a superficial level.

Thomas Vinterburg and Tobias Lindholm’s script contains these grey areas that put audiences in a moral dilemma. Can there be a healthy balance of day drinking without falling into a pit of self-destruction and alcoholic tendencies? Another Round shows various cause-and-effects of this weird experiment, which means that viewers are going to come away with differing opinions. At the center of it all is Martin’s existential crisis and becomes the film’s litmus test of the audience’s morality. Yet happiness is a fickle thing. When you find that moment of joy after years of misery, you’ll want to hold onto that moment for as long as possible.

Another Round - Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Mads Mikkelsen, and Magnus Millang

This moment is when the film takes a darker turn as the thrill of rediscovering their purpose pushes them to increase their alcohol intake. Martin and his friends are teachers and parents, so as the film progresses, they begin to pass on their vices to the kids that they are supposed to guide and help. It’s a nice study of how alcoholism nurtures one’s denial of their problems. Vinterberg is a bit subtle in depicting how the group’s experiment affects their lives since nothing comes all at once. That’s what makes the film so heartbreaking. Another Round captures all of the stages of alcoholism — up to the point where they all spiral out of control. Yet the admission of a problem is the film’s most important message. With the confrontation of their issues, they begin to find themselves once again — without the help of alcohol.

While all of this sounds depressing, Another Round doesn’t showcase these characters as being particularly ignorant or weak. It’s because of this realistic tone that makes Another Round easily accessible to everyone, despite its rather unconventional premise. It doesn’t blame their toxic situation for their questionable choices, but it does help us to understand how it contributes to the longing and misery that incites them. 

Mikkelsen’s fine-tuned performance hits all the right notes as he experiences the harsh realities of life. Not to mention, his performance is noteworthy because he conveys joy and empathy throughout. You’re annoyed by him because of his recklessness, but you enjoy the sincerity he brings to the role because of his redemption.

Overall, Another Round is a cautionary tale about the challenges of finding yourself again. While the world is going through its own existential crisis, Another Round ends on a hopeful note. Another Round may be a perfect representation of 2020 as a whole. With the new year upon us, let us freely dance away just like Mads Mikkelsen in this film.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

Another Round is now playing in select theaters and available on digital on December 18th.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1700 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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