DRAMA; Ihr 55min (Danish with subtitles)
STARRING: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang
Round table: from left, Bo Larsen, Ranthe, Mikkelsen and Millang
Copenhagen high-school history teacher Martin (Mikkelsen) is the picture of disengaged defeat. His classes are all over the place, his students are complaining, his wife, Anika (Maria Bonnevie), is always in a rush and his two teenage sons are remote. Fearing that middle-age has ossified him, Martin asks Anika if he has become boring — a question you only ask when you already know the answer.
His passive slump snaps to attention when at a 40th birthday dinner with his teacher friends Tommy, Peter and Nioklaj (Bo Larsen, Ranthe and Millang), Martin discovers the transformative gift of drunkenness. For the first time in years he’s free to be the vibrant man he once was, his inhibitions dissolved in vodka and wine. Could psychiatrist Finn Skårderud — who hypothesised that humans are born with a blood alcohol deficiency and should top up to 0.05 on a daily basis to bring out their best selves — actually be onto something? In the interests of scientific regeneration the delusional wonks decide to give it a shot. Or ten.
As an addictive and potentially fatal depressant, alcohol isn’t a gift that keeps on giving. Liberation in a bottle may be a transitory illusion but try telling that to Martin and Co, who’ve never felt more confident than when half-soused. In the deranged experiment’s first heady days, Martin, who oozed misery, Mikkelsen-style, from every pore, is now the life of the classroom, a can-do family man and a lover who reduces his wife to tears (in a good way). His buddies are equally buzzed and rapidly getting buzzier as they up their intake to industrial strength.
That the bursting of this bubble is the raison d’être of The Hunt director Thomas Vinterberg’s one-way ticket to disaster only enhances its crashing impact. Billed as a comedy-drama (God knows why, unless people drinking themselves witless cracks you up), Another Round breaks no new ground about either the dangers of overindulgence or the feeling of unrealised potential that can incite it. But nor does it need to rewrite old rules: the weight of the unstoppable is ballast enough.