“Has Mikkelsen ever been so good?” was the headline in the Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet this week. Mads Mikkelsen (who is also featured in the film currently screening, “Chaos Walking) is the main actor in the film, “Another Round”.
In Danish, the film was called “Druk”, which means binge-drinking. Partially funded by the Swedish Film Institute, I was surprised to see the film premiered only this week in Sweden, the same week it premiered in Australia.
Normally we have to wait months, sometimes years, for Scandianvian films to turn up on Australian cinematic screens. The film premiered in Denmark in December, so seeing it so soon was a welcome surprise. The wonders of the modern cinematic world!
The film tells the story of a group of friends (all school teachers) who decide to “push the limits” of alcohol consumption. Their experiment is based on the contention of the Norwegian psychiatrist and psycotherapist Finn Skårderud “that when humans are born they have a blood alcohol level 0.05 per cent too low”.
So they start “day drinking” to improve their confidence and their performance. Initially, their levels of consumption are hardly noticeable to the students and fellow staff members, but eventually they become evident. Their consumption also starts to impact their daily lives.
Their over consumption also begins to expose problems in their personal lives. And so it’s not only about alcohol, it’s also about a group of men in their 40s/50s needing to confront their own “personal demons”.
It’s a roller-coaster of emotions, as the actors confront with extreme honesty many of the issues so many of us face in this life period, whether it’s alcohol or relationship difficulties.
I enjoyed the film very much. It was interesting to hear how the reaction of the audience in the cinema changed, as they laughed in the film’s earlier moments, and then were much quieter in the deeper, darker moments.
The headline in Aftonbladet is accurate. The performance by Mads Mikkaelsen is very good. Though older in real life than the character he plays in the film, his performance is totally believable.
There’s a couple of references in the film which non-Scandi audiences may not understand, such as the scene where he jumps into the lake, and the scenes with the high school students wearing what appear to be “sailors hats”. The “sailors hats” are fairly common throughout Scadinavia, a hang-over (no pun intended) to the days of school uniforms. The scene where he jumps into the lakes is often references in Scandinavian pop culture as a sign of release, not suicide or misadventure, as it may be interpeted.
I’d highly recommend the film.