Four friends suffering from the ennui of middle age engage in a social experiment in Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round, and the mixture of revelry and tragedy that ensues begins with a stiff drink.
In Another Round, which shows Saturday and Sunday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art, high school history teacher Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) is in a deep rut after years of going through the motions. He barely registers with his students, who view him as an out-of-touch old man, and the relationship with his wife Anika (Maria Bonnevie) is on the same trajectory. In his mid-50s, Martin wonders how he got so far away from the guy who was on track for a Ph.D and could set any party on fire with his ecstatic dancing.
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To celebrate the 40th birthday of colleague Nikolaj (Magnus Millang), soccer coach Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), choir teacher Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Martin go to dinner, where Nicolaj mentions Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud’s theory that humans are born with a blood alcohol content (BAC) 0.05 percent too low.
Inspired by the idea that he might regain his joie de vivre, Martin endeavors to maintain a .05 BAC throughout his day, and the early results are promising. Martin presides over his class like it is a drunk poets society, quizzing his students over their boozing habits and those of world leaders.
Vinterberg, who previously directed Mikkelsen in The Hunt, infuses Another Round with a sense of fun, even when it is obvious that not everything will go according to plan. News footage of world leaders getting rip-roaring drunk punctuates Martin’s lecture on the drinking habits of great men and women.
Mikkelsen is known for his dark characters — he is arguably the best actor to play Hannibal Lecter, after all — but he plays drunk Martin as a man grasping for what made him special in the first place, and that search can be lovely to watch. He likes what a morning nip of Smirnoff did for him, giving him the confidence to inspire his students and surprise his wife, so Martin and his buddies decide to up the ante to .10 and beyond.
At this point, Another Round becomes a little predictable, if only because the deleterious effects of excessive drinking are well documented. Not everyone gets out of this vodka-soaked funhouse unscathed, and yet Another Round still feels as celebratory as its title suggests.
The film, which is nominated for Best International Feature Film and earned Vinterberg a Best Director nod at next month’s Academy Awards, smartly avoids made-for-TV pathos when exploring the main characters’ toxic tippling. Another Round feels more like real life than most dramas centered on drinking adults, maybe because it is always circling back to something positive. Martin learns a lot about himself over the course of the film, and they are lessons that stay with him as his hangover fades.
Another Round screens at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive. Visit okcmoa.com.
This weekend, Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., unveils the new film by Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar while celebrating one of his early triumphs. Based on Jean Cocteau’s play, The Human Voice stars Tilda Swinton as a woman speaking to her longtime lover on the phone as he plans to marry another woman. As originally written by Cocteau, The Human Voice is essentially a monologue, with Swinton only accompanied by her departing lover’s confused dog as she descends into depression.
The Human Voice is paired with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Almodovar’s 1988 breakthrough film about a woman dealing with an infidelity, a kidnapping and a group of terrorists, combining elements of film noir with a dark comic timing. The double feature screens Friday through Monday. Visit rodeocinema.org.
Last Updated March 26, 2021, 7:22 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor