In one of his many hymns to drinking, Charles Bukowski, that great bard of the barstool, explained the eternal promise of drunkenness. "It [takes] away the obvious," he wrote, "and maybe if you could get away from the obvious often enough, you wouldn't become obvious yourself."
This claim gets a test drive in Another Round, a crowd-pleasing Danish movie that's the frontrunner for this year's Oscar for Best International Feature Film. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg—himself a surprise nominee for Best Director—Another Round has an amusingly louche premise: Four middle-aged high school teachers decide to see whether their lives will be better if they always have alcohol in their system.
Mads Mikkelsen stars as Martin, a one-time live-wire who's become a bored and boring teacher, and a detached father and husband. One night he joins his pals Peter and Tommy for their friend Nikolaj's 40th birthday dinner. Over many bottles, Nikolaj tells them about a Norwegian psychiatrist who argues that human bodies are designed to run best with .05 percent alcohol in their bloodstream. (In the U.S., a person is considered legally impaired when their blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher.)