Thomas Vinterberg and Mads Mikkelsen team up again to tell us why alcohol is both brilliant and the worst in the challenging, provocative but also wildly entertaining Another Round, a film which will make you want a Heineken very badly but also maybe not feel too great about it.
The idea of maintaining a constant buzz is an undeniably intoxicating one, please pardon the pun, and Another Round puts great effort into showing how this could work. Mads and friends all enter their experiment to keep a constant 0.5% blood alcohol content which is presented as a scientific study but its very easy to see the wish fulfilment angle here. Making the group feel more alive and in touch with those around them, it perfectly encapsulates the increased enthusiasm you feel after a couple of drinks and its equally as fascinating to see what doesn’t happen as well as what does. While some of the group certainly go through a downfall, potential red flags also sprout up which come to nothing, a very clever tack for Vinterberg to take and one that makes the film more challenging as a result.
That also comes about in just how entertaining the film is. It is laugh out loud funny and even through a second half where more dramatic events happen, the film ends in a place where it would take a very hard heart to feel anything but “GOD I WANT TO GO DRINKING WITH MADS MIKKLESEN”. It provokes us into enjoying it while never do the Michael Haneke thing of wagging you finger at you for enjoying what you’re seeing.
There is proper drama here however, some of it with an edge of comedy, which shows the dangers of experimenting with something which damages your physical and mental faculties. A scene showing how the social connectivity pull of drinking can make you make decisions you shouldn’t is quietly disturbing despite the fun the characters are having on-screen and the aforementioned ending has implications which leave a mark when the credits roll. Mikklesen encapsulates this push/pull very well, an ordinary man getting a new lease of life from his experiment while also succumbing to its power, a performance of nuance which should get him some awards attention.
Another Round doesn’t have the devastating power of something like The Hunt but the even-handed look at the promise and pitfalls of getting drunk is one of the standouts of this year’s London Film Festival.