Genre: Comedy | Drama |
Runtime: 118 min
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang
There is a theory that man is born with half a per mille too little. That alcohol in the blood opens the mind to the outside world, problems seem smaller, and creativity increases. We know it well; after the first glass of wine, the conversation lifts, the possibilities open up. Martin is a high school teacher. He feels old and tired. His students and their parents want him terminated to increase their average. Encouraged by the per mille theory, Martin and his three colleagues throw themselves into an experiment to maintain a constant alcohol impact in everyday life. If Churchill won World War II in a dense fog of spirits, what could the strong drops do for them and their students?
A DRUNKEN DELIGHT,
QUESTIONING THE MORALITY OF DRINKING
Having four drunk danish men testing their limits of alcohol under the direction of Thomas Vinterberg, seems to be a recipe of success with Mads Mikkelsen in the lead. Winterberg and Mikkelsen did The Hunt a couple of years ago and are now collaborating in a danish-Swedish production with stellar, emotional performances of the main quartet.
The story follows four teachers who test their limits with alcohol consumption and how much they can take and how much it affects their environment as well. Although having the lead, his co-mates in the film is just affecting the plot as himself. The film takes the story with itself following Martin (Mads) and explores how alcoholism affects the family relationship. It also covers Nikolajs’ relationship.
Martin is married to a Swede, who is critical to Martins’s irrational behavior, who in terms of the relationship between the two of them is not better as well. Maria Bonnevie who is playing his wife Anika is a little too over-dramatic in her scenes compared to the subtility of the film. Most of the film takes place at teachers home and at their school, which make the storytelling intact and intimate, where it often could derail. Mads makes a strong performance as the leading actor, taking a chance for his marriage just to clean up his act and to behave normally.
The editing is a little choppy occasionally and not easy on the eye as it has a variety of cuts that don’t always a make smooth transition, as wanted. The cinematography is freely and smooth but shakes camera movement. As the story comes to an end, it shows the redemption of the characters and the end of their journey, the fulfillment of their growth. It’s also an exploration of freedom, the meaning of friendship, and how alcohol affects us and our minds. How far are we willing to test us just for the consumption of alcohol?
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