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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 3, 2021



‘ANOTHER ROUND’ is a Danish movie currently nominated in the Oscars for best international film.

 It’s directed by Thomas Vinterberg and stars Denmark’s best known actor, Mads Mikkelsen who won the Cannes best actor award in 2012 for “The Hunt”, also directed by Vinterberg. 

Mikkelsen has done work in Hollywood as a villain in “Casino Royale” and as the title-roler in the TV series “Hannibal”. 

“Another Round” is the story of four high school teachers in Copenhagen: Martin (Mads), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang). 

They are close friends and when they celebrate Nikolaj’s 40th birthday, they are fascinated by the theory of a Norwegian philosopher and psychiatrist, Finn Skarderud, that alcohol content of .05 percent can make a person less stressed and more productive.

They agree to experiment on the validity of this theory but they also agree they won’t drink after 8 PM. At the start, their experiment seems to be working as it enhances their lives. 

Martin is previously having problems with his marriage, but he now gets to reconnect with this wife. 

They then increase their alcohol content to .10 percent and soon, Martin’s wife and two sons express their worry that he seems on his way  to becoming an alcoholic. 

The four friends have more rounds of drinks as they go binge drinking one night. Martin has a big fight with his wife who admits she cheated on him. 

Their marriage crumbles and the four friends decide to stop their experiment about drinking. 

It is apparent that the four men, all unhappy with their lives, are undergoing some kind of midlife crisis, but it’s also obvious from the start that drinking will not help them solve their personal problems. 

It will only lead to disastrous results as their lives can only go from bad to worse. 

One becomes a bedwetter and his wife is repulsed that he pees on their bed. Another one becomes a real alcoholic and dies while sailing by himself. 

The film makes an effort to have an upbeat ending with the high school students under the care of the teachers graduating and having a fun party by the sea. 

Martin is urged to dance and the movie ends with him dancing with so much frenetic energy, with the final frozen shot shows him diving into the sea. 

Mads does a pretty good dance number and this should come as no surprise as he really started as a gymnast-dancer in real life before going into acting. 

But he does succeed in projecting himself as a man who has lost his mojo and has become a loser, with even his students losing their faith in his teaching abilities after he extols Winston Churchill for being an alcoholic. 

The way he portrays how he got lost in life is quite touching, but the other three teachers are not as moving: the sports teacher who has lost his passion for coaching, 

the straitlaced music teacher who also lost his connection with his job and with love, and the married teacher who feels his life has fallen into an exhausting rut with his wife and their babies. 

As a teacher, not one of them approximates Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society”.  

Honestly, we don’t feel for them. The very thought of four middle-aged teachers going to class everyday while drunk is so disconcerting. 

Other men have better ways of coping with such personal crisis when they lose the excitement in their lives. 

But these guys are mere adolescents who never grew up, all of them just stupid born losers. And they all just get what they deserve for being such dumbos on the road to self destruction. 

Honestly, we find the acclaim this movie got a bit overrated. 

Maybe most of those who enjoyed it are also alcoholics. This is supposed to be a bittersweet story that is both funny and sad but, sorry, we don’t have any sympathy for the characters. 

In most modern Scandinavian movies, you’d notice the very obvious lack of faith and this is central to their problem: the characters believe they are in control but, apparently, they are not, so they lead empty lives that practically cripple them. 

They are so impoverished in spirit and you know right away that their leading doomed lives is hopelessly inevitable. 

As Shakespeare himself says in “Hamlet”: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!”