There are actors that exhibit a level of skill in portraying a particular and single type of character in films. For Denmark’s Mads Mikkelsen, his often playing a villain in American cinema is not an indictment of his skill or range, but rather an indictment on Hollywood film executives for taking one of the best actors working today and making him a villain or ominous character in every film he’s in.
Once you view some of Mads Mikkelsen’s extensive catalog of films in Denmark, you realize just how adroit he is at playing any and every character he signs up to portray.
A prime opportunity to see Mads Mikkelsen masterfully working at his craft is the 2020 film, “Another Round” (or “Druk” in Danish).
In this film, we find Mads Mikkelsen and three of his coworkers and friends grabbing a bite to eat for one of their birthdays.
At this celebration, Mads Mikkelsen’s character, Martin, decides not to drink as he has to drive back home afterwards.
After being somewhat ridiculed by his friends at the dinner for not partaking in drinking with them, Martin starts drinking with his friends, tears up, and shares with the table as well as the audience that he is in a rut.
Martin’s marriage is without love, teaching has gone from being rewarding and an opportunity for him to show his intellectual prowess to a work that bears no fruit.
It is at this point when his three friends all to an extent reveal they have the same sentiment about various aspect of their lives.
So, to combat the redundancy and mundaneness, the four friends decide to practice a real theory from a Danish philosopher that said humankind lives with a .5 deficit in their bloodstream of alcohol.
To remedy this, the four friends initiate a haphazard experiment to see what day-drinking will do for them and how it will affect their lives.
From the get-go, the experiment yields interesting results, so the friends decide to go deeper into the study and increase their daily consumption of alcohol.
The outcome, while positive at first, results in a rude awakening of the four friends after each encounters a highly embarrassing moment and/or failing that totally disproves the philosophy they are testing and reveals the real culprit of why they have embarked on this ill-advised experiment: they are all experiencing their own kinds of a mid-life crisis.
But for these friends, instead of buying a sports car or getting hair plugs, they day-drink to excess and essentially test out how being a high functioning alcoholic fits with identity problems and mild depression.
The film, while sounding somber, is actually as close to a work of art as a movie can get.
The message and discussion of one’s struggle to find and maintain a positive and healthy identity is so accurate and close to home.
The struggle exhibited by the characters, all over varying aspects of their lives, is very raw and human.
Many critics have talked about there being many comedic parts to this film, but that is a gross misrepresentation to the film as this is 100% a drama film whose moments of levity, that I guess could be considered humorous, felt very heavy and real.
All in all, “Another Round,” is a very human story that offers its lead, Mads Mikkelsen, yet another opportunity to shine in a complex role, something Mads is no stranger to doing in every Danish film he’s in.
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