11 user 78 critic

Mistaken for Strangers (2013)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Comedy, Music | 28 March 2014 (USA)
2:25 | Trailer

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Tom Berninger chronicles his time spent on the road as a member of the tour crew for The National, the rock & roll band fronted by his brother, Matt.


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Credited cast:
... Himself
... Himself
... Himself
... Himself
... Himself
Brandon Reid ... Himself
... Herself, Matt Berninger's wife
Isla Berninger ... Himself
Nancy Berninger ... Herself
Paul Berninger ... Himself
... Himself (as President Barack Obama)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dawn Barger ... Herself, band manager
... Himself
Annie Clark ... Herself
Ira Kaplan ... Himself


In 2010, rock band The National were about to embark on the biggest tour of their career. After ten years as a band, and five critically acclaimed albums, they were finally enjoying wider recognition. Lead singer Matt Berninger invited his younger brother, Tom, to join the tour's crew. A budding horror filmmaker, Tom - who is nine years younger than Matt and listens exclusively to heavy metal - decided to bring his camera along. Tom's at sea in the world of indie rock, and living in his brother's shadow brings out the younger sibling in him - he drinks, complains, and struggles to balance his ambition with his tour responsibilities. The result is a film about brothers and about making something of your own. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

28 March 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jak nieznajomi  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$87,743, 30 March 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$137,460, 4 May 2014
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User Reviews

Terribly made beauty
28 April 2014 | by See all my reviews

Music docs have a checkered history. Dig! might be the best of the recent bunch, but nobody came out of that looking good, lest of all the people it was intended promote. Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind were at once far too farcical and far too realistic, and really the whole "rockumentary" genre wasn't left with much wiggle room.

This isn't a rockumentary. It certainly doesn't provide much of an insight into the National, although there are the odd interview with the lesser members who look, more often than not, drunk or confused or bored. No, this is about the Berninger boys. It's a study of how an overweight college dropout copes in the presence of his universally adored, alpha-male brother. It's very hard not to come out on Tom's side. Matt is aloof, pretentious and very egotistical (although at times he shows immense sensitivity to his brother's latent depression). Tom wants what Matt has. And this film is his personal journey into that. There's a deeply psychoanalytical element to this, which, intended or no, places it above say, Standing in the Shadows of Motown or Dig, which are straight up music profiles.

Two scenes stand out for me. One, a drunken conversation between Tom and Matt's wife, both of whom are drunk. She knows that in most battles the alpha male wins. Look who she picked. The second, when Tom screws up and leaves Werner Herzog locked outside an LA gig.

This film is terribly made; the director himself admits this. But in the end, for some reason, he's produced a profoundly moving portrayal of two brothers, and a world in which alpha males win. Fans of the National will be relieved to know that their favourites come across as nothing worse than somewhat humourless - a far cry from The Brian Jonestown Massacre. But fans of the National will appreciate the depressive undertones which are beautifully and subtly brought to the foreground.

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