Skip to main content
Camera ObscuraSpiegeloog 414: Rise

Camera Obscura: Druk

By November 4, 2021November 9th, 2021No Comments

When watching the trailer of the movie Druk (English title: Another Round) from Thomas Vinterberg you might at first get the feeling that the movie is somehow a weird combination of a comedy about some unmotivated teachers and a drama about alcoholism – and you are not totally wrong. But this tragicomedy (I had to google the word, it exists) has more to offer than that. It thematises the search for happiness, midlife-crisis moments as well as the topics of romantic relationship, friendship, and family dynamics – some of those more extensive and in more obvious ways than others. 

In this movie, four Danish school teachers try out a semi-serious psychological experiment, taking themselves as participants. All of them feel, in a way, ‘trapped’ in their lives. They have little aspirations, their romantic relationships are slowly dying out and they teach classes in which you really cannot say who wants to be there less – the bored students or the unmotivated teachers themselves.

But one day, Nikolaj (the music teacher of the friend group) proposes to put a theory into practice that was supposedly supported by the psychiatrist Finn Skarderud, stating that the natural human blood alcohol level is 0.5 percent too low and it therefore should be lifted constantly in order to achieve a more fulfilling life. The sobriety in his friends’ lives, so Nikolaj believes, is what is holding his friends down and keeping their potential low. In his view, they could be motivated and fun teachers, amazing lovers and in general just ‘more musical and open’. 

So naturally, the next day, alcohol is being sneaked into school and especially Martin (the protagonist of the movie and the one who starts first with the experiment) turns from a listless man into a creative, passionate and aspiring teacher, becoming what one would probably call ‘a pretty cool guy’. 

The other three friends have similar experiences, at least at first. Nikolaj, the music teacher, connects with his students on a more emotional level and encourages them to sing ‘with their hearts’ and Peter, the philosophy teacher, catches onto the anxiety of one of his students.

The alcohol seemingly has only positive effects, especially for Martin, who reconnects again with his wife and children and radiates such a positive mood that you cannot prevent smiling while watching him. After a while, the group decides that from now on everyone adjusts the alcohol level to what ‘works out best for them’ – still keeping the rules of the actual experiment (for example: no drinking after 8 p.m. or on weekends). 

Except for one night, when the four decide to have another (small) self-experiment: binge drinking – purely to observe effects on mind and body of course. After a very escalating but positive night, they continue the experiment for a while. But both Martin and Nikolaj face serious confrontations with their families as consequences of not only their alcohol use, but also their newfound interest in life.

From now on, the members of the group make different decisions on how to continue their alcohol usage and during the second part of the movie we are witnessing the continuation of their lives – the positive and the negative parts. 

But if you expected the educative part now, you will be disappointed. Another Round does not function as an educative ‘do not drink’-movie at all. It captures all sides, the amazing moments of alcohol-induced elevated euphoria and its social benefits but also the hole one can fall into when life is not going well and not much is left besides the drinking. It is not a movie on ‘what happens when you drink too much alcohol’ – rather on how wonderful and careless life can be on the one hand, when letting go of boundaries that do not serve you well, and how brutal it can be on the other, when the consequences of your own actions (or the ones of others) hit you. 

Especially if you are coming from a country with an established drinking culture, I promise you will find your life resembled in this movie in one moment or the other. And it will probably leave you balanced between a thoughtful and a cheerful state at the same time.

And even if you do not feel like that at all, you will at least have watched a pretty well-made movie starring Mads Mikkelsen.

When watching the trailer of the movie Druk (English title: Another Round) from Thomas Vinterberg you might at first get the feeling that the movie is somehow a weird combination of a comedy about some unmotivated teachers and a drama about alcoholism – and you are not totally wrong. But this tragicomedy (I had to google the word, it exists) has more to offer than that. It thematises the search for happiness, midlife-crisis moments as well as the topics of romantic relationship, friendship, and family dynamics – some of those more extensive and in more obvious ways than others. 

In this movie, four Danish school teachers try out a semi-serious psychological experiment, taking themselves as participants. All of them feel, in a way, ‘trapped’ in their lives. They have little aspirations, their romantic relationships are slowly dying out and they teach classes in which you really cannot say who wants to be there less – the bored students or the unmotivated teachers themselves.

But one day, Nikolaj (the music teacher of the friend group) proposes to put a theory into practice that was supposedly supported by the psychiatrist Finn Skarderud, stating that the natural human blood alcohol level is 0.5 percent too low and it therefore should be lifted constantly in order to achieve a more fulfilling life. The sobriety in his friends’ lives, so Nikolaj believes, is what is holding his friends down and keeping their potential low. In his view, they could be motivated and fun teachers, amazing lovers and in general just ‘more musical and open’. 

So naturally, the next day, alcohol is being sneaked into school and especially Martin (the protagonist of the movie and the one who starts first with the experiment) turns from a listless man into a creative, passionate and aspiring teacher, becoming what one would probably call ‘a pretty cool guy’. 

The other three friends have similar experiences, at least at first. Nikolaj, the music teacher, connects with his students on a more emotional level and encourages them to sing ‘with their hearts’ and Peter, the philosophy teacher, catches onto the anxiety of one of his students.

The alcohol seemingly has only positive effects, especially for Martin, who reconnects again with his wife and children and radiates such a positive mood that you cannot prevent smiling while watching him. After a while, the group decides that from now on everyone adjusts the alcohol level to what ‘works out best for them’ – still keeping the rules of the actual experiment (for example: no drinking after 8 p.m. or on weekends). 

Except for one night, when the four decide to have another (small) self-experiment: binge drinking – purely to observe effects on mind and body of course. After a very escalating but positive night, they continue the experiment for a while. But both Martin and Nikolaj face serious confrontations with their families as consequences of not only their alcohol use, but also their newfound interest in life.

From now on, the members of the group make different decisions on how to continue their alcohol usage and during the second part of the movie we are witnessing the continuation of their lives – the positive and the negative parts. 

But if you expected the educative part now, you will be disappointed. Another Round does not function as an educative ‘do not drink’-movie at all. It captures all sides, the amazing moments of alcohol-induced elevated euphoria and its social benefits but also the hole one can fall into when life is not going well and not much is left besides the drinking. It is not a movie on ‘what happens when you drink too much alcohol’ – rather on how wonderful and careless life can be on the one hand, when letting go of boundaries that do not serve you well, and how brutal it can be on the other, when the consequences of your own actions (or the ones of others) hit you. 

Especially if you are coming from a country with an established drinking culture, I promise you will find your life resembled in this movie in one moment or the other. And it will probably leave you balanced between a thoughtful and a cheerful state at the same time.

And even if you do not feel like that at all, you will at least have watched a pretty well-made movie starring Mads Mikkelsen.

Anne Sophie Giacobello

Author Anne Sophie Giacobello

Anne Sophie (1996) specialised in Brain and Cognition in her third year of psychology. She likes thinking about the connections between psychology, politics and society and never leaves the house without her journal, a pen and her current read.

More posts by Anne Sophie Giacobello