After the disaster that was Buddy Games you could probably understand why I was a little nervous about sitting down and watching another film about middle aged men getting up to drunken hi-jinks with Another Round. Of course I didn’t factor something major into the equation though – Buddy Games of course came from that merry old country of the USA while Another Round hails from Scandinavia… a region of the world known for its brilliant cinematic pieces.
It is partially true that Another Round is about drunken hi-jinks, because realistically the film goes a lot deeper than that. The film centres around a depressed high school history teacher named Martin (Mads Mikkelsen – Doctor Strange) who is made aware of how far he has sunk into depression when his senior history class raises concerns that they are being so badly taught that they are likely to fail their graduation exams.
That makes Martin realise that his depression is also affecting his marriage and he needs to do something about it. That something is soon discovered when Martin and his school teacher buddies find out about a study, conducted by psychiatrist Finn Skarderud, that has revealed that humans may function better if they are slightly intoxicated. Soon Martin, Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen – The Hunt), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang – Heavy Load) and Peter (Lars Ranthe – Adam’s Apples) are conducting their own ‘research’ into the experiment with mixed results.
What director/screenwriter Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt) has created here is one of the most important films of 2021. Often as a man you find yourself going through a range of emotions and never really knowing how to deal with them. Unlike Hollywood would have you think we don’t sit around talking to each other about marriage problems and if we are feeling a bit ‘down’ that week. Instead men hold onto it and let it fester – and sometimes it takes a movie like this one to really make us guys think ‘hey maybe I should do something about that.’
Another Round is not a film that glorifies a drinking culture, to the contrary without spoiling any major plot points I can say that the experiment at hand in the film causes some serious problems for some of the characters at hand. Likewise this isn’t a film that goes for the ‘childish’ style of excessive drinking that films like Buddy Games do, instead this is a film that has some powerful things to say and gets that across beautifully well. The heart and emotion that surrounds this film is understood even more when you realise that the director’s daughter died only days before the film begun shooting… something that touched the entire cast and crew as she was also to have a role in the film.
The powerful screenplay behind Another Round also has a massive affect on the acting performances in the film. Mads Mikkelsen is amazing here to the point where you find yourself asking – could there be an Oscar nomination in the wind? His portrayal of Martin has to be seen to be believed and he is so convincing in the role it really does feel like the audience is being taken on a character journey throughout the film.
I strongly get the feeling that when I put together my Best Of list at the end of this year that Another Round is going to be pretty high on it. This film not only deserves its Golden Globe nominations but is one of the films of the year.