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Mistaken for Strangers

By MITCH LILLIE
Tom Berninger is a familiar personality: He’s a 30-something with no plans to stop slacking off and partying, and he has the long metalhead locks and potbelly to prove it. Tom also happens to be the younger brother of Matt Berninger, lead singer for the National, who invites Tom on tour as a roadie. But Tom has his own plans. He intends to make a documentary of the experience, often at the expense of his actual duties. The result is a hilarious, half-baked rock doc, with Tom’s directions wisely uncut. (“This is good, this is gonna be perfect for your intro shot,” he says during one member’s intro shot.) Because he’s family, Tom’s awkward, spontaneous interview prompts—“Where do you see the band in 50 years?” or “You’re way more popular than any of my friends”—elicit honest reactions. Comparisons to This Is Spinal Tap are a bit farfetched, though. In Mistaken for Strangers, it’s the band members who are the professionals, while the director screams, “Hey, Moby!” towards the singer’s house while floating in an infinity pool. Though for brief moments it feels like watching amateur home video, Mistaken for Strangers is a comedic take on making a documentary and an honest take on brotherhood.
 

Special Note

Hollywood Theatre
 
  • Genres: Comedy, Documentary
  • Running Time: 80 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: A-
  • Directed by: Tom Berninger [Director], Matt Berninger [Producer], Carin Besser [Producer], Craig Charland [Producer], Marshall Curry [Executive Producer], Aaron Dessner [Original Music], Bryce Dessner [Original Music], The National [Original Music], Tom Berninger [Film Editor], Carin Besser [Film Editor]
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