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Another Round

7/10

Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe, Maria Bonnevie

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Another uncompromising depiction (albeit with a few lighter touches) of the ravages of alcohol, focusing on four male Danish teachers in early middle age who have become disillusioned both with their work and the unruly high-school classes they have to educate.

One morose individual, Martin (Mikkelsen), is told by his colleagues that he 'lacks self-cofidence and joy'. The joy has certainly gone out of his marriage to Anika (Bonnevie), and their apathetic sons largely ignore him.

At a 40th birthday dinner, the four get around to talking about the blood alcohol level in humans being 0.5 per cent lower than it should be. They resolve to conduct an experiment to see how raising the level to the 'right' amount will affect their lives and work - and set out on a drinking binge, booze discreetly hidden away or disguised in water bottles.

At first, their teaching improves beyond all recognition as the alcohol relaxes their approach, but inevitably the whole thing soon spirals out of control, especially after they decide to drink 'to the oblivion stage'.

The results lead to an increased self-awareness, as well as one tragedy and an ending that's a bit too ambiguous on all fronts. Mikkelson's somewhat hangdog features are ideally suited to this role, although all concerned etch convincing characters whose fates we are anxious to pursue - while the film refuses to take sides as to whether the benefits of the quartet's experiment might, in some ways, outweigh the darker side.

David Quinlan

Denmark 2020. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour (uncredited).
117 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Feb 2021