Another Round: the best movie of the last year comes to Netflix – La Tercera

Four secondary school teachers, in the midst of a midlife crisis, get together one night to celebrate the birthday of one of them, and none of them is happy with the life they lead. One tells a theory: humans would be born with a deficit of 0.05% of alcohol in the blood and when we compensate for that difference we become a better version of ourselves. The protagonists of Another round -translated here as Another round– decide to experience what it is like to have that 0.05% throughout the day, achieving incredible results. They become more outgoing, better teachers, partners, and parents. They again look like twenty-somethings with new blood and that energy gives away numerous outstanding and vigorous scenes. Until the alcoholic degrees start to rise and, well, things get out of control and the inevitable sugar cane arrives.

The Danish film, which this year won the Oscar for Best International Film, was finally released in Chile in an unexpected way: through Netflix, a streaming that launches new series and feature films every week, but occasionally they are of quality. Its catalog of European films is scarce – its main flaw-, so the debut of Another round it is reason to celebrate big. Let’s be clear: this is the best film of the last year.

Mads Mikkelsen, known for playing Hannibal Lecter on the television series Hannibal and the James Bond villain in Casino Royale, rejoins director Thomas Vinterberg (with whom he previously made the disturbing The hunting) to offer his best performance so far, full of details, gestures, looks and dialogues that often upset and uncomfortable. Other times they make you laugh or amaze, like their mind-blowing dance scene, which is better to see. His character, of a history teacher who bores his students and who is irretrievably downward in his life -and the contrast is made that once was pure vitality-, is transformed with alcohol and offers funny moments, although always It reveals that there is an inner pain that does not stop completely and that the problem is deeper.

Another round It is a complex film, because the four protagonists lead apparently happy lives – they dine in a fancy restaurant every time they get together, they have beautiful modern houses, armed and financially quiet lives – but it is only a shell. They are not old enough to think about retirement, but they are not young enough to party and energy is lacking. And fed up. At work, they achieved some goals and others not, and middle age takes the toll on them. They are an intermediate generation, who achieved what they could and were frustrated by what they did not achieve. They ran out of plans for that age.

The film transitions between black comedy and drama and that difficulty in pigeonholing it is part of its attractions. The premise it raises is unsettling, subversive and politically incorrect for these times. The feeling that you are watching something that is unlike any other film is another plus point. Probably, had it been made in the United States, it would have a moralistic reading about alcohol, but there is none of that here: it is not pro or anti alcohol. The director is not interested in entering that dilemma and leaves it to the viewer. Where it does probe, or open the conversation, is why people with blood alcohol degrees, in many cases, lower their guard and really show themselves as they are. Are beers and vodka disinhibited or is it due to the social structure, as the years go by, that we become more gray, content and boring and alcohol becomes an excuse to let go?

The answer is not in the feature film, fortunately, because that would be very boring. A feeling of sadness floats throughout the footage and probably some of it is due to the context in which Thomas Vinterberg filmed: his 19-year-old daughter, who was to act in the film, died in a car accident when shooting took four days. Another round, she said, kept him from the madness and dedicated it to her. But, strangely, the film never quite gives up on the fun. There is a vitality in each scene where the protagonists are on the verge of drunkenness that goes in the opposite direction to what one might expect, because alcohol is a double-edged sword in their lives. This apparent contradiction complicates a single reading and makes Another round sticks in your mind for a long time. As is often the case with good movies.