Another Round has steadily become the favourite to win the Best International Feature Film Award at tonight’s Oscars thanks to its brilliant mix of comedy and drama. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, the film follows four uninspired teachers who decide to start an experiment where they retain a certain amount of alcohol in their blood throughout the day and note the effects. With a cast led by Mads Mikkelson, Another Round is bonkers and disorientating as we follow the downwards spiral of the men as their lives descend into chaos as they constantly increase the alcohol intake. The film has garnered a lot of attention thanks to the film’s originality as well as Mikkelson’s perfect leading performance as history teacher, Martin.
Based on a script written by Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm, Another Round has the perfect balance of comedy and drama. The film is filled with physical comedy as well as an extremely sharp script that gives each of the teachers a clear story and motivations for taking part in the experiment. Combined with Vinterberg’s sharp direction, the film can be disorienting and chaotic to reflect the drunken displays occurring onscreen while at the same time portraying the happiness that the characters are feeling. The final scene in which Martin performs an incredible improvised dance that acts as a release for all of the emotions and events that have happened in the film and is perfectly choreographed and directed. Vinterberg’s inclusion on the Best Director nomination list was an incredibly welcome surprise in what has been a fantastic awards season.
Mads Mikkelson is on top form as history teacher, Martin. His life seems uneventful and unexciting as he goes to work, comes home, goes to sleep and repeats the process. He has clearly broken down as he is distant from his wife and kids and his students are dissatisfied with his teaching. When he partakes in the experiment, it is as though Martin is a completely different man and starts to come out of his shell before the drinking overtakes everything and has a gigantic fall from grace. Mikkelson is on top form from beginning to end. We feel the disorientation that goes with the loss of control as well as the highs that come with his initial success in work and family. With such a complex character in a role that is physically and mentally demanding, it was great to see Mikkelson recognised with a Best Leading Actor nomination at this year’s BAFTAs and it would have been even better to see him among the nominations at the Academy Awards as well but being able to demonstrate his ability to play any genre with ease, this film serves as another great addition to a fantastic filmography.
The supporting cast does a brilliant job of portraying the chaos that surrounds Martin with Thomas Bo Larsen bringing a performance that will have you crying by the end. Larsen plays Tommy, the PE teacher who works with the younger children in the school. When the experiment is underway, it is Tommy whose life begins to spiral out of control almost immediately and it gets to the point where he loses that control and cannot retain it. Hiding numerous bottles of alcohol in the gymnasium equipment room is only the start of the bottle. After the men agree that their alcohol consumption is getting to a point where they are concerned about alcoholism, they stop the experiment but Tommy continues to drink. The scene in which he turns up to a staff meeting inebriated beyond belief is heartbreaking as he has lost all sense of self. The final encounter we see between Tommy and Martin is upsetting and it’s thanks to Larsen’s incredible performance that we really feel the despair for the character.
Another Round is a film that is bold and daring while also remaining a celebration of life. The four men work in the same school and yet lead entirely different lives and the experiment brings forth a common denominator between them as everything is put into perspective. Vinterberg has created a film that feels revolutionary in its fearlessness and the highly charged emotional scenes juxtaposed with literal song and dance in a way that feels real and grounded. Mikkelson proves again that he is capable of performing any role in any genre as he excels and carries off what is easily a career best in a career that is filled to the brim with impeccable performances.
What did you think of Another Round? Let me know in the comments below!