Another Round

Another Round ★★★½

Had an absolute blast with this. Feels like such a breath of fresh air seeing Vinterberg move out of his comfort zone of making misery porn and making something this pleasant. A film thoroughly entertains from beginning to end, skillful on a technical level with great cinematography and editing. Each scene feels alive and in motion, and I truly appreciated how the film handled its themes with so much levity. Excellent performances all around - especially (and unsurprisingly) from Mads Mikkelsen - carry the film throughout and make it constantly enjoyable. 

Despite how much fun I had with it, it is still not without its flaws - and there are... many many flaws. The film feels imbalanced on a structural level, with too much attention given to certain portions and not enough on others. It is also very often really heavy-handed and hammy, especially in the classroom scenes. While I do appreciate Vinterberg not going for the obvious “alcohol bad” approach to this story, I still feel like the way he presented his themes could’ve been significantly improved and made more subtle. 

With that being said... I’ll admit now I expected too much of this film. Unlike Tenet - which I went in expecting a dumb action film - I’d formed an idea of Another Round in my head as a serious drama and character study that would have great insights into the mechanics of alcoholism and self-deception. And while there are hints of that, as I came to the third act of the film, I realized that this film really only aims to be a good feelgood movie. Sure there’s still pretty interesting commentary on drinking culture and it does somewhat explore what results in addiction, by the end I felt this film’s purpose was just to entertain. And that, in turn, left me thinking much more favorably of the rest of the film as well. 

All in all, despite its issues, I loved watching it. It is funny and entertaining holding a great deal of levity, but the drama also works separately on its own. And if there’s any selling point for this film, for which I’d encourage you to watch it, it would be the fantastic ending. Brilliantly set up early on without even noticing, the last 5 minutes are cathartic, cheerful and exhilarating. It is a glorious feat to watch unfold, as is watching everything that proceeds it.

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