Mistaken For Strangers

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.

A musical documentary about ‘The National’ that functions more as an insight into the relationship between two brothers than the dynamic of the band themselves. Directed by Tom Berninger, brother of lead singer Matt, it follows them on their recent tour and explores themes of brotherhood, family and the touring lifestyle of a band in their 40’s. As a huge fan of The National, I found the film really interesting, and the song choices matched the talking head sections perfectly. I think anyone who isn’t a fan of the band will get a lot less out of it however (it’s not one of the definitive rock doc’s that you’d recommend to anyone regardless of whether they like the band or not), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

To a certain extent, the film is more about the filmmaker himself, and about how he feels living in the shadows of his brother. The sibling dynamics are very interesting and leads to some unintentionally humorous moments when Matt loses it with Tom, as he increasingly tries to film every single moment, even at points when they’re in the middle of a set. An enjoyable film, but one more for fans I would say.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Tom Berninger

Starring: The National


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