Mistaken for Strangers (2014)

95) Mistaken for Strangers (2014)

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. Hailed by Michael Moore as “one of the best documentaries about a band that I’ve ever seen” and by Pitchfork as “the funniest, most meta music movie since Spinal Tap”.

9/10 – I really didn’t expect this. All I knew about this was that the documentary was about The National, and it was receiving widespread acclaim. As a fan, I was naturally intrigued. What quickly becomes apparent is that instead of your standard band based documentary, we’re presented with a much different perspective.

It’s a documentary shot unintentionally in the style of a home movie, which shifts focus from the band, on to an awkwardly funny, at times cringe-worthy, sibling rivalry. The key to it’s success here is that it’s film maker; the scruffy, underachieving, metalhead brother who still lives with his parents, just wants the same level of fame that Matt has. On tour, he has good intentions, but it’s mixed with his lackadaisical attitude which ultimately has a knock-on effect on those on the tour with him. Heightened by his documentary ‘style’ of questioning (“Do you take your wallets on stage?”), it is just bewildering and heartwarming at the same time as you really see him try to succeed.

An excellent documentary, and you don’t have to be a fan of The National to enjoy this.

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