CINEMA REVIEW: ANOTHER ROUND (2020)

CINEMA REVIEW: ANOTHER ROUND (2020)

Danish: Druk (2020)

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

Produced by: Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Kasper Dissing

Written by: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm

Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe

Music by: Janus Billeskov Jansen

Cinematography: Sturla Brandth Grøvlen

***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***


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“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” – Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald


I love drinking alcohol. Perhaps TOO MUCH at certain periods of my life. Indeed, for many years I bordered on addictive reliance or at the very least some form of functioning alcoholism. I’ve binge drunk in my life, abstained for weeks and months on what one would call being “on the wagon”, and in a personal experiment I gave booze for almost twelve months in 2019. It was the longest year of my life. Thus, the old adage of doing everything in moderation certainly works for me where alcohol is concerned. It is all about balance.

In the Danish film, Druk (2020), four middle-aged Danish men attempt their own experiment with alcohol. Apparently, stuck in a rut and suffering inertia where work, family and relationships are concerned, they decide to follow a theory by psychiatrist Finn Skårderud, who has posited that having a blood alcohol content of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed. So, the rules are put in place as Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) — all teachers of variant levels at the same school — set about drinking a specific amount of booze to see if their lives improve over time. Fun and games are certainly had as they begin their “theorizing”, with Martin especially finding his teaching and home life improving. Have the four friends found the secret to happiness, or are these just false victories, with alcohol providing a screen to hidden existential pain?


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The film is structured well in establishing the various, admittedly privileged, white males in crisis. Martin’s marriage is crumbling, and his students hate his teaching methods. Tommy lives alone, seemingly overcoming the loss of his partner. Peter appears the most together, but he suffers from a lack of love, while the more academic, Nikolaj, struggles with being an adequate father and husband. As their drinking increases the relative first world problems are not really solved, but become exacerbated as the alcohol exerts a tight grip on them. There are some hilarious scenes where the four get blind drunk and make fools of themselves. However, as they take drink after drink, the demon liquor begins to take them. As the film moves toward the final act, their previous drunken joy leads to both emotional and physical pain. In fact, tragedy is not far away for the friends.

It’s not surprising there are reports of a Hollywood remake because Druk (2020), has a perfect hook and set-up for a classic mid-life crisis comedy. However, with Thomas Vinterberg’s expert direction, evocative natural cinematography, and Mads Mikkelsen giving yet another acting masterclass, the humorous narrative soon leaves the laughs behind to become a bittersweet, yet still uplifting, work of Nordic cinema. I must admit I was slightly disappointed there wasn’t more debate and exploration of the alcoholic experimentation. Because ultimately the theory is used as more of a springboard for the examination of men, friendship and their issues. While Martin is a fine character to lead the journey, overall his story dominance meant the other three, especially Tommy’s arc, were mildly undercooked. Yet, I am nit-picking here, as overall I really enjoyed going a few rounds with my Danish peers and one probably won’t see a more joyous end to a film in many a year and many a beer!

Mark: 8.5 out of 11


7 thoughts on “CINEMA REVIEW: ANOTHER ROUND (2020)”

  1. Great review! I enjoyed this movie a lot, but I agree with you on since small imperfections here and there. Still, I found it an intelligent take on something which is considered as a cultural trait despite its poisonous nature… :–)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sam. Yes, I felt like the wife ringing and wanting to get back with Mads character may have been changed in the edit as it didn’t feel organic. Also Tommy’s suicide was sudden and more of a plot necessity rather than satisfying arc conclusion. The boat image was powerful though. But Mads dancing at the end was phenomenal- wonderful end to an excellent film.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I fully agree with you on the death of Tommy being too sudden, not entirely justified by a well written character arc. Also, was it suicide or an accident? Before getting on the boat he tries to wear a life jacket…

        As for the ending, that I loved. I found it a positivr ending, joyful… But at least a friend of mine saw the final jump as suicidal, going to the same dea thst killed Tommy. What did you think of it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a good thematic concept but I think there were enough people around Martin would be saved. I think because he was frozen in time it was a celebration rather than attempting suicide. But an interesting and intelligent reading of the ending.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s an open ending as we don’t really know if he will get back with his wife. I read the alcoholo-fuelled dance as a celevration of life, rather than death, as you did, but I was also fascinated by this alternative reading of it!

        Liked by 1 person

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