Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang and Maria Bonnevie
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Written by Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm
After releasing almost a year ago in the US, ‘Another Round’ has finally hit the big screen in the UK. A Danish release from one of the founding directors of the Dogme movement, Thomas Vinterberg’s story of four school teachers who decide to maintain a consistent level of alcohol intoxication is a brilliant piece of both comedy and drama.
Led by seasoned performer Mads Mikkelsen, ‘Another Round’ boasts brilliant performances from all four of it’s leading actors. However, Mikkelsen is a particular stand out, bringing his character and the range of emotions he goes through to life in a way that captivates the audience and draws them into the story. There’s a sense of believability which is maintained throughout, as if there really could have been four teachers who decided they’d keep up a 0.05% Blood-Alcohol Content level just to improve their lessons. Although this authenticity is helped by the directors roots in the Dogme 95 manifesto, a film movement which focused solely on story, and cast aside any special effects or elaborate technology, I feel that it’s the relationship between the performers which truly brings the story to life. The way they both endure hardships and celebrate success is an essential part of ‘Another Round’, and one of the main reasons it’s such a great film.
Although alcoholism is often utilised in the comedy genre to spur characters into more erratic and extravagant situations, there is also a much darker side to the topic which films have been known to explore with a sense of drama and severity which generally brings down the mood of an audience fairly quickly. ‘Another Round’ strikes a balance between these two extremes perfectly, showing both the entertaining and more serious sides of the four teacher’s experiment. Structurally, the film delivers these contrasting moments with great precision, building and releasing tension in a way which captures the audience’s attention, without ever feeling predictable or gratuitous.
One of the most fitting adjectives for ‘Another Round’ would have to be ‘fun’. Despite dealing with the heavy topics previously mentioned, there are some brilliant moments of humour, as well as dancing and affection shown in a way which almost makes you want to stand up from your seat and join in the celebrations.
Although Vinterberg’s films may not be the most elaborate in terms of cinematography or sound design, everything seen and heard is there for a reason, and works to strengthen the story being told. Despite the school environment having a fairly cold aesthetic, the life that the four teachers bring to their students when beginning their experiment contrasts such a depiction, and reinforces this idea of going against the rules.
Now that ‘Another Round’ is out in UK cinemas and across the world, I would highly recommend giving it a chance. It’s one of the most artfully put together films so far this year, but also one of the most fun. Mads Mikkelsen is as great as ever, and every other part of the film is just as good.