Mistaken for Strangers Movie Review

With a loose, rambling style, this documentary starts as a backstage glimpse of a rock tour before shifting into an exploration of brotherhood and finally into something much more self-reflective. It's a hybrid of comedy and emotion that gets under the skin even if the movie's central figure, director Tom Berninger, is both charming and deeply annoying.

As the film starts, Tom gets a job as a roadie for his older brother Matt's band The National, which is enjoying its first wave of success by staging a world tour across Europe and North America. Since Matt's bandmates are two pairs of brother (Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Bryan and Scott Devendorf), Tom feels like he completes the set. As a filmmaker, Tom has made a few cheesy horror movies, and now wants to make a rock-tour doc about his experience. In the process, he hopes to bond with Matt, because their large age difference means that they've never had much time to get to know each other. But it's quickly apparent that Tom doesn't have much in common with Matt, most notably because he's a heavy metal fan who doesn't really like The National's music.

Essentially, Tom is a Zach Galifianakis-like slacker who never takes any of his work seriously and seems like he would be exhausting to be around for more than a few minutes at a time. His lack of effort in his job seriously annoys the band's manager Brandon Reid, and the film Tom is making feels so unplanned that it meanders all over the place. But this allows him to find all kinds of natural humour in the situations, including some in which he's clowning around for his unseen camera crew. Several scenes are reminiscent of Spinal Tap, as Tom's goofy interview style makes the bandmates wonder if they should try to answer the questions or just break down laughing. And along with this endearing silliness, the film also captures some strikingly telling scenes that highlight the sibling relationship between Tom and Matt.

One of the more revealing moments comes when Tom is thrown off the tour bus and returns home to Cincinnati, where he interviews their parents Nancy and Paul about the differences between him and Matt. He does end up rejoining the band in Brooklyn for recording sessions. And while there are signs that he has learned something from this situation, he remains the bratty little brother character, jealous of Matt's success but not willing to do the work required to be a success himself. In other words, along with being an often hilarious and sometimes annoying road movie, this is also a surprisingly observant film about a generation gap that says a lot about Western society.

Watch 'Mistaken For Strangers' Trailer

Cast & Crew

Director : Tom Berninger

Producer : , Carin Besser, Craig Charland

Starring : , Tom Berninger, , Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, Scott Devendorf, Brandon Reid, Nancy Berninger, Paul Berninger


Comments

Mistaken for Strangers Rating

" Good "

Rating: 15, 2013

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to vicious rumours, but she definitely did not...

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

The album was released only one week ago and sold 103,000 copies to secure the top...

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

The second daughter of musician Bob Geldof, Peaches Geldof was thrust...

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

You know who he is. Robert Downey Jr.’s involvement in the Iron Man franchise has been...

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

Hercules Extended Trailer

Following his deadly ordeal of being put through the Twelve Labours by his father Zeus and his...

Hercules Trailer

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'

Cyrus also features on the track's vocals, and -perhaps most shockingly of all- resists...

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'
Advertisement

That Time Snoop Dogg Puffed Mary Jane at The White House

Snoop Dogg has joined Willie Nelson as weed-loving musicians who have smoked...

That Time Snoop Dogg Puffed Mary Jane at The White House

Gershwinner: Our Top 5 Billy Joel Songs

Billy Joel has long been regarded as one of music’s finest songwriters but it will soon be all more official...

Gershwinner: Our Top 5 Billy Joel Songs

Rob Reiner's 'And So It Goes' Is A Safe Bet At The Cinema This Weekend

Fresh from the critical and box office success of Behind The Candelabra, for...

Rob Reiner's 'And So It Goes' Is A Safe Bet At The Cinema This Weekend


More recommendations

Advertisement