Another Round sees the Danish dream team of Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Vinterberg finally back together, eight years after the agonisingly tense, true story-based The Hunt. With his latest film, Vinterberg turns back to the fictional but loses none of the subtle tension and nervous energy that made his previous work tick.

The story revolves around a daredevil experiment that is claimed to dramatically improve one’s life: consistently maintaining a steady flow of alcohol in the bloodstream. This new-age philosophy grips high school teachers Martin (Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang), who are all stuck in the doldrums of life and desperate to reignite their youthful spirit.

In weaker hands, such a concept could easily be melted down into a bawdy Hangover-type comedy, but Vinterberg’s probing camerawork and the phenomenal performances of Mikkelsen and co. elevate this into a devastating depiction of mid-life free-fall.  Vinterberg uses a pared-down approach to gradually chip away at Martin’s cold aura and his attempts to paint over the cracks in his life, until he reaches a sort of alcoholic terminal velocity that is both electrifying and chilling to witness.

Mikkelsen, Larsen, Ranthe and Millang perfectly capture their characters’ staggering amount of self-denial, continually deluding themselves into believing this experiment could actually work and is based in actual scientific reasoning. Brilliant use of intertitles bring a further gravity to their experiment, signalling their slowly increasing alcohol level while simultaneously parodying the idea that they are simply conducting an academic study.

Another Round is a devilish cocktail of a film, at turns invigorating, chaotic, and terrifying, and propelled by four sensational central performances. Vinterberg expertly denies us any easy answers, delivering a deliberately provocative drama that shies away from melodramatic preaching and instead implicates us in the drunken revelry.

RATING: 5/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang, Maria Bonnevie

DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg

WRITERS: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm

SYNOPSIS: Four men hatch a plan to keep a steady stream of alcohol in their blood at all times.