The recent recipient of the Audience Award for Best Film at LFF, Another Round (Druk) marks the return of Thomas Vintenburg and Tobias Lindholm (co-writer) to the silver screen to deliver their best collaborative piece yet. It explores existentialism, identity and (you’ve guessed it) substance abuse and is being disputed as Vinterburg’s best work since Festen. This Swedish-Danish drama will be representing Denmark as their nomination for the International Feature at next years’ Academy Awards. It is both a burst of energy and melancholy yet generally lighter in tone than his previous works, and the closing scene alone deserves true credibility as a cathartically cinematic lust for life.
Another Round (Druk) follows a friendship group of four middle-aged secondary school teachers, all looking for something to occupy their boredom of modern living. After convincing Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) to drink with them on Peter’s (Lars Ranthe) birthday, and rediscovering the highs that booze can supply, they begin to become intrigued by an obscure Norwegian philosophical theory: the belief that man was born with a 0.5% lower alcohol content than appropriate, to improve mood, to live more confidentially and content (or at least feeling the buzz of doing so). Alcoholism is a serious issue in the U.K. and across Europe and albeit a drama/comedy, it walks the fine line of commentary and satire in a way that is humorous and honest.
Martin, seemingly in a rut with both his teaching and homelife is desperate to try anything. The ex-dancer is the first to bring the experiment to the classroom and his relishing of success has a domino effect, resulting in the whole group beginning to ‘collect evidence’. What is the worst that can happen? These men are all playful at heart and seemingly envious of their students with their lack of ties, but more often than not nostalgia does no good. Against the setting of a highschool, it is a story that both celebrates and resents youth, only for the discovery to be made that freedom and contentment are not defined by age or years ahead of you, but of how you seize the day.
It is a piece that feels bold yet vulnerable, and its message is driven home by Mads Mikkleson’s performance that grounds the piece without overmasking its central message. This film would have failed to achieve this impact without such a seasoned actor at its hub – the benefits of working with frequent collaborators and friends shines through clear as day. Vintenburg captures the highs and lows that coincide with alcoholism to a tee, and had me going from hysterical laughter to holding back tears. The film’s realistic approach and portrayal of the topic is emotionally evoking, and this, in addition to the final scene – one that I will not be forgetting anytime soon – is a beacon of light that makes for an enlightening watch. Another Round (Druk) reflects on the legacies we leave behind, but equally acts as a reminder for us to live, to feel everything first. You have to make use of your moments before they are all gone.