Directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring crowd favourite Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round (or Druk as it’s titled in Danish, which loosely translates to ‘binge drinking’) is a film that dives into the ups, downs, and all-arounds of alcohol.
From the carefree life of a teenager entering summer vacation to the family man fighting for a work-life balance, Another Round really shows us how alcohol can both enhance life and take it, oh so quickly.
Vinterberg’s Another Round sees a group of four high school teachers explore a theory that states that humans are born with a blood alcohol level that is 0.05 percent too low. Developed by Norwegian Psychotherapist Finn Skårderud, the theory suggests that maintaining a BAC of 0.05 percent would elevate the mood, improve social function, and overall lead to a happier existence. The group of teachers investigate the impact of the theory, both positive and negative within their families, social and professional lives.
Within the group of four, each initially struggles with their day-to-day life in a different way. Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) cannot get his students interested in the topic at hand and rarely sees his wife, Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen) can’t get his children’s soccer team to work cohesively, Peter (Lars Ranthe) struggles to get his music class to perform as they should and sing from the heart, and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) has a less than ideal dysfunctional family life and marriage. As a group they begin their study based upon the Skårderud theory, writing a paper and congregating regularly to discuss their progress.
Mikkelsen delivers a gripping performance in showing the dichotomy of how young adults experience alcohol against the harsh reality of substance abuse in true adulthood. Mikkelsen’s character goes through huge development in such a short period of time. From the quiet introverted history teacher struggling to connect with his students to then becoming the bubbly, outgoing professor that he has always wanted to be.
Director Thomas Vinterberg manages to traverse the youthful exuberance of discovering alcohol in a melancholy yet eye-opening way. Vinterberg’s insight on loss, addiction, and the work-life balance leaves the viewer not only reviewing their own past life choices but seriously reconsidering that second glass of bubbly. Do not let this Danish exposé on the reality of alcohol pass by, it is definitely worth the watch.
Denmark has some of the highest rates of teenage drinking in the world; a World Health Organization report released earlier in 2020 found that Danish 15-year-olds consumed alcohol at nearly double the European average. Recent efforts to raise the minimum age for purchasing alcohol to 18 from 16 have met with resistance, in part because older adults recall their own youthful intoxications so fondly.