How “Another Round” (2020) Correlates Alcohol with Carpe-ing the Diem
By Noah Dauncey
Recently, there has been a surge of popularity with foreign films as mainstream movie watchers start to add films from all over the world to their palate. This stems from the wide scale success of 2019’s “Parasite,” a South Korean film by Bong Joon-Ho that won a plethora of awards including Best Picture at the 2020 Academy Awards. The success of “Parasite” paved the way for more films from countries other than our own, and 2020 brought an arsenal of titles for the world to see.
Among these new releases is Denmark’s “Druk,” also known as “Another Round” to English-speaking viewers. The film follows Martin, played by Mads Mikkelsen (who also starred in “Doctor Strange” and “Hannibal”), a high school teacher who has found himself in a rut in life, feeling unaccomplished in both his work and marriage. While attending a birthday dinner with some friends, someone brings up a theory by psychiatrist Finn Skårderud that states humans were born with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) 0.05% too low, and that upping one’s BAC by that 0.05% will benefit their functionality in society. The group decides to put this theory to the test as they spend the next few weeks maintaining a BAC of around 0.05%, sometimes more.
The film positively portrays the effects of this study—all the friends live life to the fullest during this time. The study allows Martin to fix his marriage and reconnect with his wife for the first time in months. These men are now on top of the world, and nothing, it seems, can stop them.
Naturally, this spree of joyful drinking does not last forever. Seeing how well the study is going, the group decides to up the intake to dangerous proportions, trying to see the limits of the study and the full capabilities a high BAC will give them. However, this eventually leads to problems, and the increased alcohol begins to demolish their happiness.
So where does this film sit in relation to a Seventh-day Adventist university? Walla Walla University has a clear stance on the consumption of alcohol, which can be found in the student handbook. Does that mean this is not the sort of movie our students should be watching? That depends on how one interprets the message. The film sends a message glorifying alcohol consumption, as seen in the third act of the film, but is it fair to say that those who watch this movie will walk out of it going, “Wow! I think I want to give that theory a try,” and then start attending class slightly intoxicated?
I believe the film does delicately and minimally romanticize alcohol; however, the true glory in the film comes from the interactions between the four friends. They talk, laugh, and banter all throughout the film, even when they are not experimenting. Alcohol or no alcohol, the glorious moments of seizing the day come from being with the people you love and investing in the relationships that matter most to you.
Sure, you can watch this film and see the effects of alcohol as the primary rhetoric portrayed, but you can also watch it as a celebration of life with the people that matter most. “Another Round” perfectly captures moments of real-life issues with alcohol, from the rose-colored look at drinking all night to the sad aftermath of dealing with the consequences the next day—but the true heart of this film comes from the relationships: the laughing, the smiling, the dancing, the crying. This is what happens in life, and it is what the filmmakers want you to remember. Then the film ends with one of the greatest choreographed dance numbers I have ever seen.