Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang, Maria Bonnevie
Danish writer-director Vinterberg’s puckish midlife crisis comedy drama may not have anything profound to impart about masculinity and drinking but it’s wildly enjoyable and played with infectious gusto.
Mikkelsen is Martin, an uninspired and uninspiring teetotaller social studies teacher and family man. He is barely noticed by his wife Trine (Bonnevie), whose work shifts tellingly rarely coincide with his, and ignored by his restless pupils, as well as, amusingly, his pupils’ parents who turn up to complain about his lack of engagement with their children.
One night at a blokey 40th birthday dinner with his fellow teachers, Tommy (Vinterberg regular Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and birthday boy Nikolaj (Magnus Millang), Martin is persuaded to try a fine Russian vodka. Seeing the sparkle in Martin’s eyes after he’s imbibed, the group start discussing Norwegian psychologist Finn Skårderud’s suggestion that humans are born with a blood alcohol level 0.05% too low and that this must be remedied to maintain (ahem) the spirit. So the men decide to put this to the test and maintain a level of tipsiness throughout the working day. They semi-rationalize this as a scientific experiment with strict rules: blood alcohol levels must never fall below 0.05% and drinking after 8pm is not permitted.
At first it goes swimmingly with Martin reconnecting with his family and winning over his pupils with lessons about boozy Churchill and Roosevelt vs teetotaller Hitler. The experiment proves so successful they decide to extend the limit to 0.10%, before, inevitably, graduating to all out binge-drinking where things begin to get a little out of hand.
While some many find Vinterberg’s treatment of the subject matter a little flippant, its mischievous irreverence is very much part of the appeal. The hand-held Dogme style camerawork and what feels like semi-improvised performances from the universally excellent ensemble imbue the proceedings with a requisite sense of wooziness, and the concluding scene is a rousing as it is gif-friendly.
A US remake with Leonardo DiCaprio has been announced for some reason.
Another Round is released 2nd July
Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm