There is a Norwegian psychologist, Finn Skårderud, who claims that humans are born with a blood alcohol level that is 0.05% too low. He suggests that maintaining a low level of alcohol use causes you to become more poised, more relaxed, more courageous.
Four friends, teachers at a school, decide to test that theory, purely for the purposes of writing a scientific paper you understand.
Martin, Mads Mikkelsen (“Arctic”, “Doctor Strange”), Tommy, Thomas Bo Larsen (“Follow The Money (TV)”, “The Hunt”), Peter, Lars Ranthe (“Hunting Season”, “Warrior (TV)”), and Nikolaj, Magnus Millang (“The Commune”, “Danish Dynamite (TV)”), all sign-up to the experiment.
Martin is a history teacher, married with two children. He has lost his mojo somewhat, plodding through life, never really there, never really here. It’s at the 40th birthday party of Nikolaj, the psychology teacher, where he first hears about Skarderud’s claim.
Mads gives it a go, and the others quickly follow, raising their alcohol level to 0.05%, but only drinking during the day, stopping at 8pm.
What we witness is the men gain a new outlook on life and their jobs. Mads becomes a more vibrant teacher, his students love him, Tommy, the sports teacher, gets his mojo back too, as does Peter and Nikolaj.
But not all is rosy, and the men decide to push their alcohol level higher and higher, although not doing this at work, it gradually begins to seep into their everyday lives.
Martin’s marriage hits the rocks, though it was probably already there anyway, Nikolaj’s falls off the rails whilst Tommy takes things so far he struggles to come back.
All at once a delightful, witty romp through the good sides of having a drink; the euphoria, the joy, the nice warm feeling inside, we also witness the dark side and the very dark side of alcohol consumption.
Director and co-writer Thomas Vinterberg (“The Hunt”, “Far From The Madding Crowd”) has form when it comes to a) putting Mads, Bo Larsen and Ranthe in movies and b) making them about teachers, as seen with The Hunt.
He punctuates the movie with black screens as the group begins writing their scientific paper, or a text message is sent and read. He also slots in some clips and photos of leaders from around the world, drinking, or being drunk.
During his classes, Martin tells his students about those who have drunk heavily throughout history, Churchill, Roosevelt, yet achieved great things. Whilst the group convince Peter to come on board citing musicians who did their best work whilst drunk. It’s a shame that Peter’s back story or home life isn’t explored as much as the other men, but that’s just how it is.
Druk, Another Round in English, is a delightfully funny film with fantastic performances, as always, from Mikkelsen and Bo Larsen. You could take it as a warning on the perils of alcohol, or as a message that you should live your life to the full, with or without help.
20th November 2020
THE QUICK SELL
Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.