This is not just a love letter to an incredible 2021 Oscar-contending film, Another Round (available to rent digitally), but an ode directly to the beautiful performance by Mads Mikkelsen. I do just want to say some spoilers are ahead, so if you haven’t had a chance to check out the film, definitely stop and come back after you’ve checked it out.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt the conversation surrounding Mikkelsen’s performance has quieted down. I have personally made it my mission to not only bring his performance back into the awards conversation but the film as well.
In its native Danish, it’s titled Druk, which I feel is a bit catchier. The film follows Mikkelsen’s Martin, a man who is lost, basically sleepwalking through his life. Goes to work, goes home without much enthusiasm or light for either. At a dinner for a friend, Martin breaks down in tears that he doesn’t know how he ended up feeling like this. He asks his wife if he’s boring. All to defeat and feeling worse than before.
Martin sets out to add life and flair to his day-to-day existence. Martin and his friends decide to follow a claim by Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud that we are born with a .05 percent alcohol deficiency. The men set out to discover whether maintaining a level of controlled inebriation could improve both their professional and personal lives.
At first, the men are succeeding. They teach better, are more attentive at home, and have so much fun. Then it catches up with them and they suffer a bit. While the film could be a mundane portrait of a midlife crisis, it’s much more. The film dives into “you can’t live like this forever” and really brings it home. I don’t want to spend this reviewing the film, but just express my love for it and Mikkelsen’s performance.
Throughout the film, Mikkelsen’s performance is a mix of internal emotions brewing or expressive physical acting through his character’s intoxication. Mikkelsen is a former trained dancer, who rarely gets to show it off (please stop only casting him as a villain America). It’s mentioned early on that his character, Martin, was trained in jazz ballet when he was younger. Towards the end of the film, the group of guys, leaving a truly sad event, run into their students celebrating graduation.
The guys accept shots and hugs set to the amazing club anthem (!!) “What a Life” by Scarlet Pleasure (WHY ISN’T THIS ELIGIBLE FOR BEST ORIGINAL SONG!). Martin is slowly but surely talked into dancing. At first, he doesn’t fully commit and seems a little silly, but once he lets go, he is incredible. His muscle memory kicks in and he hasn’t lost all of those feelings from years ago. He runs through the flowing champagne with true joy on his face. While he may not consider himself to be a dancer any longer, he hasn’t truly forgotten how to dance. I don’t want to spoil the final ending shot, but it’s one of the best of 2020.
So, to the Academy, please consider Another Round in Best Picture, Editing, and most importantly LEAD ACTOR MADS MIKKELSEN! (Also Mads, call me baby)