Mistaken for Strangers

Mistaken for Strangers ★★★½

This is a very well made unprofessional documentary that can very VERY relatable to the right person. The film is about Tom, the not-famous, mild mannered, metalhead brother of Matt Berninger, lead singer of the indie band, The National. Tom has been hired as a roadie on The National's 6+ month 2010 tour, and while he is on tour with them, he is going to also film a nice rock doc about the band itself. There are a few problems though.

1.) Tom is a god-awful filmmaker. You see a few clips of films he's made in the past, and they aren't even good-bad. Just shit. This no-skill is translated well in this documentary's footage. This skill is questioned by everyone of the band members throughout his time with them.

2.) He is a horrible roadie. Constantly eating their food, drinking their wine, missing phone calls from the bus and cab drivers in the mornings, and just being lazy at every given chance.

Which leads us to, 3.) He was only hired on because he is Matt's brother, which is misinterpreted by Tom resulting in an unjustified power trip.

Halfway through the tour, Tom is fired and is sent back home to think things over. He recollects his travels which included, meeting celebrities, visiting landmarks, and living it up. Then he realize just how much he'd thrown away by being careless. This is followed by interviews with Matt's parents in which he questions how different he was from Matt while growing up. His parents explain how Matt was always the well to do, golden child who excelled at everything he did, while Tom was the reclusive artist who never went out of his way to be heard. Quickly, this film becomes a study of how brothers(or sisters all the same)can grow up overshadowed by their siblings, and how it can effect the rest of the growing process in that person. The family rivalry proves to be an innocent one however, as we see Tom admit his deep love for his brother and just how awesome it was to be around him for so long, considering how distant fame has otherwise made him. Capping off as a film within a film, Mistaken for Strangers ends as Tom finish his film's editing process and is ready to show it to the whole world. He knows he may be the estranged one out of the two, but through his failures, he learns his strengths. A must see for anyone who's experienced this sibling power struggle, or had it cross their mind at one time or another. Don't expect a nicely made film, but a very watchable one nonetheless.

- The Spork Guy

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