Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang, Maria Bonnevie, Susse Wold
Written by: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm
Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Danish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 115
Date: 12/18/2020

Another Round (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Booze Brothers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Mads Mikkelson is excellent as Martin, one of four burned-out high school teachers who are also best friends. While celebrating a birthday, the others — Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe), and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) — discuss a theory by psychiatrist Finn Skårderud. The theory suggests that a constant blood-alcohol of 0.05 makes a person more productive and less stressed. They agree to try it out, with certain rules (no drinking after 8 p.m., etc.). It works like gangbusters, with only little setbacks like janitors discovering secret stashes of bottles at the school. These sequences are rather exciting, as the lives — and love lives — of the four men suddenly become vibrant again. Of course, there's another shoe to drop, but it's a rather dumb plot turn in which the men decide, for no good reason, that, instead of the 0.05, they are going to see what happen when they go all out and get completely obliterated. It's a horrible night, with dire consequences (and another plot turn that feels more forced than natural). But then Another Round comes back spectacularly with a beautiful, bittersweet ending, incorporating Mikkelson's impressive dance skills. There must have been a way for co-writers Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm to smooth out that chunky, jarring middle section, but behind the camera, Vinterberg (The Celebration, The Hunt, Far from the Madding Crowd) at least keeps things steady enough to make the film worth seeing.

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