Imagine for a moment that we are all born with a 0.05% deficit in our blood alcohol concentration.
This theory captures the imagination of our four protagonists in Another Round, and they set out to “investigate” and “report upon” the psycho social impact of maintaining a 0.05% blood alcohol concentration in their daily lives.
Our protagonists are all teachers at a Danish school who all sense their lives are in deficit and who all hope that “living life on the sauce” will bring a richer, more passionate experience to their existence.
In the hands of writer/director Thomas Vinterberg, this movie goes beyond the rich vein of black comedy that such a premise promises, and uncovers a rare study into men being honest with each other and themselves. it is a gem amid a wonderful selection of movies in the 2020 Adelaide Film Festival.
From the opening scenes, we get to peer behind the veil as the History teacher (Mads Mikkelsen) admits to being below par and “lost”. He senses he has the greatest need for trying “anything” to get himself out of the rut he’s found himself in.
And so the covert drinking begins. What unfolds is one part hilarious, one part sad, and two parts fascinating.
The underlying theme that emerges is one of social isolation, and not the pandemic kind. Our characters are all existing in bubbles, next to but not truly connected with the people around them.
Enter, alcohol. This story is a study in how alcohol’s long known characteristic of lubricating social interactions by lowering inhibitions, plays out on centre stage. From the unbridalled joy of students taking part in drinking competitions to the newly found confidence and eloquence our protagonists experience, at least at first, while mildly inebriated, alcohol seems to “come to the rescue” and shines a light in places of the heart, mind, and soul.
But, it also leads to a boldness and self-focus, we see, that can lead us to “break free” when breaking free hasn’t actually been what’s needed. Being present is the elusive Holy Grail in life, we learn. And this story brings that message home resolutely.
Another Round is an enjoyable and sobering movie at the same time and, just like alcohol, I’m sure it will affect different audience members in different ways.