ANOTHER ROUND
(***1/2)-VITO CARLI

"...packed with good dialogue, effective dark comedy..."

Getting Loaded For Science

(032721) Another Round is an unusual and fairly engrossing dark comedy film about a professor who wants to clinically test a theory put forth by a Norwegian philosopher (get this) that people were born with too little alcohol in their veins. He and his colleagues want to prove that moderate alcohol consumption (0.5) can stimulate creativity and make the subject more relaxed. But of course, the experiment cannot stay in those boundaries of consumption and as they increase the dosage (all in the name of science of course) the experiment takes a toll on all the subjects and threatens to destroy their lives.

The film has received quite a bit of critical acclaim. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for best Motion Picture Foreign Language and it was selected as the Danish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, making the short list of 17 films. In addition, it won both the Chicago Film Critics’ Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards for best foreign film.

As expected the film received an Oscar nomination for best International Film, but some were surprised that the film’s director, Thomas Vinterberg also received a nomination for best director.

Although it was originally shown in the US in 2020, its release in theatres and streaming was delayed because of Covid and it is being considered by most critics as a 2021 film.

The director Thomas Vinterberg is probably best known for his film, Celebration (1998), his first English language film, Far From the Maddening Crowd (2015), and The Commune (2016) which was based on Vinterberg’s youth living in an autonomous collective. He also helped co-found , Dogma 95 along with the always controversial, Lars Von Trier. The movement was extremely influential in cinematic Avant Garde circles.

The group created a list of rules to follow or ideals called the “vow of chastity” that group members were supposed to abide by. It was an attempt to "take back power for the directors as artists" away from the studios, and members tried to avoid the use of elaborate special effects or technology or big-name actors. Since then most of the members have drifted away from strictly following these rules.

Another Round,” is the second feature on which Vinterberg has worked with his countryman, Mads Mikkelsen. In “The Hunt” (2012), Mikkelsen had the role of a kindergarten teacher who falsely charged of being a pedophile.

In the new movie, he is Martin, a high-school history teacher who is correctly accused of being an alcoholic. This occurs because he is part of a controlled group experiment in which the members test the effects of alcohol on themselves.

When Martin’s son finds his drunk dad asleep blasted out of his mind, Martin nonchalantly responds, “Well I got a little drunk yesterday,” and his son who is surprisingly non-plussed says: “ But Dad, you’ve been drunk for a while, haven’t you?”

Martin is joined in his efforts by three coworkers, Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen) who is a coach; Nikolj (Magnus Millang) who is a psychology teacher, and Peter (Lars Ranthe) who teaches music. At first the experiment goes surprisingly well, Martin loosens up in the classroom and announces later to his friends, “I haven’t felt this good in ages.” But he also starts to make bad judgment calls and advises a student to drink before a test to help with his nerves. Seeing underage kids drink does not sit well with the rest of the faculty

Of course, at least some of the men get increasingly out of control and one of them spirals towards a bad end. Although “Another Round” is mostly filled with angst and gloom, it is not completely dark, and there is a glorious off kilter dance sequence involving one of the profs that captures a sense of unstrained joy which is infectious.

There is a certain amount of predictability in the storyline, but the film is so packed with good dialogue, effective dark comedy, and top notch acting that it is worth making a special effort to seek it out.
 

Written & Directed by:    Thomas Vinterberg
Starring:    Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus
 Millang
Released:    12/18/2020
Length:    117 minutes
Rating:    Not Rated
Available on:    Amazon Prime

For more writings by Vittorio Carli go to www.artinterviews.org and www.chicagopoetry.org. His latest book "Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor" is also available.

ANOTHER ROUND © 2021 Zentropa Entertainments
Review © 2021 Alternate Reality, Inc.