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MOVIES: Another Round - Review (LFF 2020)

Thomas Vinterberg wowed audiences with his first film with legendary Mads Mikkelsen back in 2011, when The Hunt was nominated for best foreign language picture which it absolutely earned. Now he’s back with the Hannibal star for a tour-de-force of an ode to drinking culture and the lifestyle of an alcoholic, that never feels like it’s glorifying drinking issues, hitting hard in a subversive way that captivates audiences, especially in its final act as the consequences of the characters’ actions comes back to haunt them.

Another Round starts out with an idea from a bored group of teachers at an elite high school that escalates over the course of the film: Can they maintain a low level of intoxication whilst working in order to produce better results for themselves and enrich their lifestyle? It’s a fun challenge idea that they embrace with enthusiasm, with in particular Mads Mikkelsen relishing in a role where he’s not typecast as an exposition-mouthpiece antagonist and is for once, just allowed to have fun. Also back for more from The Hunt is Thomas Bo Larson, joined by Lars Ranthe, who reunite with Vinterberg again as the film showcases how different people react to the challenge and the affect that it has on those taking part in it. This is a film that could have been hostile, brash and insulting, but Vinterberg is smart enough to navigate that fine line of a portrayal of alcohol addiction on screen with delicate results, whilst also managing to capture a sense of fun to the film that remains unmatched and would likely only lend well to repeat viewings.

This is a film that celebrates the joy of life, and Mads Mikkelsen shines particularly in those final few minutes which features one of the best endings of any movie this year. Vinterberg more than knows how to deliver in the final act and Another Round feels like a breath of fresh air, removed from the world of The Hunt in favour of something largely original in its genre, a clean break from the dumb and dumber of American comedies. Another Round never feels like it’s talking down to you or the characters, and it finds room to make them shape and change over the course of the film that never feels like it overstays its welcome. It never crosses the line, and its humour is handled tastefully.

What Another Round does so well is that it feels real, honest and believable - and all these elements working together are exactly why any all-too inevitable American remake will completely miss the point of what this film sets out to do. There’s no element of forced approach to Vinterberg’s latest and for me, that’s what makes it stand out above some of the other films of its genre. Mikkelsen puts in another instantly memorable performance – backed up by a great cast – and the film maximises its tonal balance perfectly to craft an instantly memorable masterpiece.


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