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Druk (Another Round)

(Denmark, English subtitles). Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) is a high school teacher who has hit a bit of a mid-life crisis. His classes are boring, his family life is boring, with a wife who works nights and is becoming more estranged, and two teenage sons who are off doing their own thing. He and three other teachers decide to test a theory that blood alcohol content should always be at least .05 with no drinking after 8 pm or on the weekends. Their goal is to see if it improves their professional and social lives. The test starts off well enough, and the film explores how it affects all of them, particularly Martin. I liked this film mostly for Mikkelsen’s performance, which is amazing (all of the performances are very solid, though). Drunk and sober, he conveys an underlying sadness and emptiness that is in every facial expression and in his eyes. There are also some incredibly touching scenes. There is the one with Tommy (the Coach) and the little boy who gets picked on by the other footballers; Peter, the music teacher, who coaches a hyper-nervous student through his exam question on Kierkegaard; and several scenes with Martin and his family as they draw closer and then become exasperated with Martin. The acting, and the story, are great. I struggled, as someone who has had personal and direct experience with the ravaging effects of alcoholism, with what sometimes felt like a positive spin put on drinking. But I know that the drinking culture is different here, and the film in its own way even provides commentary on it. Overall, though, I loved the film. There are two films this year for which I will always remember the final scenes that are even perhaps the best in my recent memory: Another Round and The Sound of Metal. Big thumbs up from me. This film is Denmark’s submission for Best International Film for the 2021 Academic Awards; my prediction is that this one will make the final cut.  (2020; 4 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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