Wednesday, May 25

Another Round Review – Mads Mikkelsen Presents Drunk Tragicomedy | Toronto Film Festival 2020

IIn this year’s awards season, every aspect of this quirky and frivolous alcohol tragicomedy tripled, winning an Oscar and a Bafta for Best Foreign Language Film. His Danish title is “Druk”, a term that is perhaps best translated by adding the lyrics of N. Thomas Vinterberg’s film, which reunites him with actor Mads Mikkelsen (who starred in his drama The Hunt in 2012) is based on a theory. pseudoscientific that I put in the mind of Humphrey Bogart’s murky phrase about the rest of the world being three drinks behind. People spend a lot of time in this movie getting very drunk, and perhaps in the wacky traditions of Denmark’s Zentropa studios, the actors had to get really hit before the shout of “Action!”

Ardently impassive, Mikkelsen plays Martin, a high school history teacher at an institution where teens assimilate their drinking ethics early on, with an OTT drinking game they play upon graduation, and learn to associate binge drinking. of alcohol with youth health and happiness. Martin hangs out with three other taciturn middle-aged teachers for a bit: Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang). Everyone is pretty bad these days, but Martin seems to have especially lost his mojo, muttering and stumbling through lessons in a way that alarms students.

So the guys have an idea: they have come across a theory by the Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skarderud that the alcohol content in the blood of all human beings is always too low, and if measures could be taken to increase the alcohol quotient in everyone’s bloodstream, this would be a totally acceptable way to treat depression. (Skarderud is a genuine figure, but I’m not sure if he’s ever said this in real life or if the four fictional beer bosses have misunderstood a more bland comment.)

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So they set out to do just this, sneaking during the day with clear liquors clandestinely decanted from mineral water bottles, in the sad and sordid way of alcoholics everywhere. Martin refines his approach based on something he has heard about Ernest Hemingway: that if you stop drinking at 8:00 PM every day, this regulates work-life-drinking balance. (He seems unfazed by the way Hemingway ended his days.) Soon, Martin regained his enthusiasm, happily telling his history class about himself and his new hero, Winston Churchill, who wrote countless books and saved the world from fascism while ( or because)) is completely shattered.

It really is a weird movie – it could be that Vinterberg wanted something like Marco Ferreri’s La Grande Bouffe from 1973 about four guys who set out to eat themselves to death, and there are times, especially when the four drunken guys run like kids. , when it reminded me of John Cassavetes’ husbands of 1970. Inevitably, the drink cannot be maintained at this level of false medicine, as they naively assume. Health is ruined, careers are ruined, relationships are ruined, and marital beds are pissed.

But Vinterberg also seems to want to turn upside down our liberal devotions that heavy drinking is bad. There is a scene in which a teacher encourages a student to drink before a live test and… well…. it clearly doesn’t do you any harm and may even have crucially calmed your nerves.

Throughout this film, I wondered if Vinterberg intended his film (which he co-wrote with Tobias Lindholm) to be a really blatant provocation, like Lars Von Trier’s The Idiots, but it wasn’t brave enough, so he settled on something. . that he really doesn’t quite know what to say about the issue of drinking in our society – other than that it’s here to stay, and that being drunk looks much, much worse on middle-aged people than young people. But now that I think about it, it looks pretty bad on youngsters too. The performances are persuasive and visible, especially Mikkelsen, the alpha leader of the boys, who makes the drunkenness seem quite acceptable until it’s too late.

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This article was modified on June 28, 2021 to remove a reference to a scene where a student is tested “at Schopenhauer”, which was incorrect.

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