Once you read the premise for Another Round, you would not be judged for thinking it could be a good, farcical comedy. The idea of four teachers deciding to test the theory that their job performance, and subsequently general life, will improve if they maintain a constant state of intoxication, could lead to plenty of laughs. It could also, of course, be the grounding for a great drama as well. The issue Another Round faces is that its not really either of these.
What that leaves is a movie full of untapped potential. It begins with a great first act set-up, focusing on Mads Mikkelsen’s Martin, as he cruises through his life, unfulfilled and sliding towards depression. Its a different side to Mikkelsen but he shows a solid grip for dramatic acting and is really watchable here.
As are the others making up the four taking on this “experiment.” Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe and Magnus Millang all have great chemistry and the scenes where they meet and inadvertently devise this plan work well. As do the initial moments where they try to keep an even keel of their plan and hide the fact they are permanently at a low level of intoxication.
Its at this point the movie has to make a decision about its direction but again, it never really commits. For some characters, particularly Mikkelsen’s Martin, life improves and we see success. The others have the same or similar but never to a level where it’s funny or surprising. To their credit though, the quartet are great drunks. Its a difficult skill to play and pretend but they do so very well, going for subtle majority of the time and ramping it up when the film and story requires.
Which is when the cracks begin to show, both in the characters and the general story. The message of this film was never going to be that alcohol solves your problems which means the movie needs the dramatic fallout, and there is some pretty heavy-hitting moments, but they never truly commit. You are engaged in what is happening but feel that it could have more impact and be executed with more gravitas, rather than under-played, as it seems to be here.
It means you leave Another Round slightly underwhelmed. There is a very good story here and all the pieces are put in place for this to work, but it just doesn’t know what it wants to be and never commits to the one genre it could have succeeded at perfectly, especially with the central character and actor it has.
Overall, Another Round is a great idea within a muddled movie. Mikkelsen holds the film together well and the “drunk” acting is some of the best you’ll see. The issue arises when you try to pin down the point of the movie, as its not dramatic enough but not leaning heavily enough into the comedy either, which leaves the audience slightly underwhelmed by the whole process.
Rating – 3.5
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