Monday, January 11, 2021

Movie with Abe: Another Round

Another Round
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Released December 18, 2020

Alcohol is known to cause impairment, but there’s a wide range of ways in which people react to its consumption. Some may become tipsy and make questionable decisions when they drink, while others may have built up a high tolerance and be able to function relatively normally even after imbibing generously. Aside from a person’s behavior while under the influence, there are additional effects that may not be immediately apparent and can be far more destructive and lasting. Attempting to push limits to see what might happen can be enlightening and equally regrettable.

Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) is a high school teacher failing to connect with his students, who, along with their parents, complain about the difficulty of his tests and their need to earn high marks in the class. A night out with his fellow teacher friends results in an intriguing experiment, one that finds the four men drinking heavily to keep their blood alcohol levels at a stable high throughout the day, including during their time at school. Martin’s new attitude enables him to forge a new relationship with his students while he and his friends begin to notice the potentially adverse implications of their risky routine.

This film, which took home top honors at the European Film Awards, presents a story that wouldn’t really work in an American setting, where high school teachers are of a different generation and might have murkier boundaries with their students. Yet what these educators decide to do, under the guise of intellectual research, is indisputably irresponsible, and they fail to consider what tangential results their reckless indulgence might cause. Though their students seem mostly unaware of why they are acting differently, their family members feel the brunt of their shift towards a life of permanent inebriation.

This serves a reunion for director Thomas Vinterberg and star Mads Mikkelsen, whose 2013 collaboration “The Hunt” earned an Oscar nomination, a feat that is likely to be repeated by this year’s official Danish submission for Best International Feature. The recognizable Mikkelsen is a strong fit for the role of Martin, who expresses reservations about this plan but ultimately finds it irresistible, navigating a fine line between once again finding a passion that was lost and acting in an appropriate and commendable manner. This film’s narrative arc, much like the sobriety of his characters, is full of extremes, culminating in a highly memorable and emphatic finale that calls into question whether its players have indeed learned anything from their dangerous antics.


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