• Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round starts with a buzz-inducing, free-for-all montage of youth on the loose, devouring drinks. It is a great little sequence to open the film. Vinterberg cuts abruptly, mid-party, to a slower reality with Mads Mikkelsen in a mid-life crisis. He’s in a sluggish fog of sorts.
  • At a birthday celebration with a group of buddies (one of them is played by Vinterberg regular Thomas Bo Larsen), Mads’ Martin character opens up about his crisis and struggling marriage. This is a great scene—the kind of dinner conversation you talk about years later like the one in Malle’s My Dinner With Andre. At the 19-minute mark, Mikkelsen’s eyes well up. He actually cries twice during the film but underplays it both times- there aren’t many films where a character can cry multiple times and you still praise it for being subtle. If you enjoy having a drink, good luck watching that dinner scene without pausing the film to go make/pour one.
  • The four friends decide to study Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud (his quote opens the film) theory about us all operating with .05% alcohol to improve ourselves- make us “more musical and open” among other things.
  • At the 38-minute mark Vinterberg uses the time of day for the first time. I get why he does it here and not earlier- as the four friends (and co-workers, they teach in a school) are finally doing their study. But I think maybe he should have also done a “0.00%” or something during the opening of the film showing the, sober, bitter, Mikkelsen in his rut first.
  • Vinterberg’s visual style is quiet, the use of handhelds and close-ups—but this is a long way away from 1998’s The Celebration in his stylistic dogma.
  • The narrative arc follows the inevitable romantic rise and then tragic fall like a gangster movie. The four men get greedy with the success of the experiment and do damage to their lives (and everyone in their wake).
  • The rise is, indeed, exhilarating- with great yarns about Churchill and Hemingway—good writing and performances from the four lead actors.
  • I wonder a little about the passage of time and how Vinterberg chooses to break it down. Perhaps a second viewing will clear some of it up but upon first glance it seems like a stretch that three of the four buddies turn into raging alcoholics, destroying their lives so quickly. I’m not positive, but I think the 117-minute running time may be to blame. I think Vinterberg needs to dwell in these scenes longer. I know that dinner could have easily lasted another 10-minutes and I need more on these relationships. I think a healthier 150-180 minute running time may be the cure—maybe like a Cassavetes film (A Woman Under the Influence and Husbands are both 150+ minutes).
  • Some nice closure ending the film with the party and the young drinkers– bookending the frenzied opening of the film
  • Recommend but not in the top 10 of 2020