Drunk (also released as Another Round in some countries) is a high concept Danish comedy-drama. The story follows four high school teachers that decide to test an interesting theory. The idea purports that everything in life is better if a person constantly has %.5 alcohol in their body. What sounds like the start of a wacky comedy of drunken errors is one, until it becomes something else entirely.
The plot begins as expected. The four friends talk about their melancholy existences at a birthday party. Before long, the conversation turns to the controversial theory and how their lives did not turn out as expected. Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) decides to test out the theory when going to work one day. The four meet again and discuss famous high functioning drunks like Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemmingway. From there, they make a pact to remain low level drunk and monitor the results.
At first, there are few surprises in Drunk. Everyone’s lives do seem to get better. Home lives seem to improve overnight while work also gets drastically better. All of the four are happier and more fulfilled. When one of the four makes the comment that life has never been better, there is only one logical thing to do; they obviously have to drink more.
Director Thomas Vinterberg moves his film into an entirely different direction at this point. The natural path of the story would be friends start drinking, then start drinking even more as their lives get better, wacky hijinks ensue leading to consequences, then everyone comes together in the end after learning lessons about themselves and life. Similar stories have played out in low brow comedies and sitcoms.
There is some of that in Drunk; careers, marriages, and lives are affected drastically. The film has its moments of great comedy, but it is also an examination of the effects of alcohol’s psychological impact. As funny as the movie gets, it is in its more somber moments that it shines. In these scenes, things become very profound and will keep audience’s thinking.
The connection between the four comes through brilliantly. Mikkelsen is outstanding and the film is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. The final moments of Drunk can be seen as a celebration of life or the beginning of something worse. It is up to the viewer to decide what the film is saying, but either way it is a fantastic watch.
Drunk is currently streaming on Hulu as Another Round.
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