Usually when the term ‘a band of brothers’ comes up, bands that generally come to mind are somewhere between Kings of Leon, Oasis, The Jackson 5 and hell, even The Beach Boys. Not often of those bands that come to mind are The National, which in actual fact are almost an entire band of brothers with twins Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner, brothers Scott Devendorf and Bryan Devendorf….and then there is singer and lyricist Matt Berninger, who was the only sibling less member….until now.
The documentary takes place in 2010/2011 when The National were preparing to embark on a year-long tour of High Violet that required an extra crew member, which is where we meet Matt’s younger brother and budding filmmaker, Tom Berninger; the Cincinnati living, long haired, heavy metal loving (non-National fan), spontaneous and completely disorganised version of Matt – who has decided to take his camera along for the ride.
“I didn’t care what kind of movie he made” Matt says. “I just said, ‘You are going to finish this. You are not going to stop.”
Right from the first scene where a very unprepared, Tom is interviewing Matt and they get into an argument, you can tell that Tom has left this filming entirely to chance and it’s a chance that pays off in ways you can’t imagine, because what ensues is a highly poignant, beautiful, clumsy, funny and awkward depiction of a year on the road with a brother and a band.
For those of you expecting a biopic on The National, you’ve been sorely mislead, because no matter how much this film is about the band…it actually isn’t. At the heart of it, Mistaken for Strangers is a film about family, about insecurities, about that unmistakeable brotherly love and the rivalry that follows suit.
The very aptly named Mistaken for Strangers is more than just your conventional tour movie – it’s gritty, it’s raw, it’s cringe worthy at times and most importantly, it actually makes you leave the cinema smiling from ear to ear.
For those of you who don’t like The National (despite the sombre howling from Matt being the most perfect soundtrack to the movie), you can still fall in love with them (and Tom) for a bit over an hour.
Mistaken For Strangers official trailer:
Head over to the website below for a list of screenings happening around the globe.