Metacritic (7/10), Rotten Tomatoes (***+)
Can a film realistically straddle the fence of a controversial subject without getting its hands dirty despite the risk of angering proponents on each side of that controversy? That’s what Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s latest offering seeks to do for the topic of drinking, one that brings with it alleged benefits and potential harm, as well as a boatload of sensitive cultural connotations. This edgy comedy-drama about four friends who conduct a dubious experiment about the supposed creative, professional and social merits that can come from intentional sustained alcohol consumption traverses thorny questions of responsibility, self-control and personal balance and how their handling can either work to our advantage or against our well-being. Needless to say, this is a tricky narrative path to follow, but the filmmaker manages to navigate through it rather skillfully, even if the final product is too unrealistically tidy at times with a closing sequence that’s a little too long and arguably unresolved. This offering is sure to provoke strong responses either way, but no one is likely to come away from it without having a well-defined opinion.