Friday, July 29, 2016

Now on Showtime: Mistaken for Strangers (2014)

Mistaken for Strangers (2014) - Directed by Tom Berninger.

By Kenny Howell

There has been an endless number of rock docs made, so there isn't many worth watching these days.

They all go on tour, the band gets angry at each other, someone gets drunk or high, but they finish the tour, and they are all perfect geniuses.

But The National goes about things a bit different in this one. Lead singer Matt Berninger has a younger brother, Tom, that is a bit of a screw up. He has talent in some artistic arenas, but he has no confidence in himself and seems to mess everything up.

Matt is, of course, all confidence. The indie rock front man was always the star growing up in athletics and the arts, which led to his success as the face of the band. The brothers love each other, but their relationship has always been a difficult one. Matt is frustrated with Tom because he thinks he wastes his talent and gets down on himself, and Tom at Matt because he is forever the little brother looking for big brother's respect.

Tom gets the bright idea to make a rock doc of his brother's band. He has dabbled in filmmaking with silly, low-budget violent movies, so he thinks he is up for it. Mostly, he just wants to make something great for his brother. Unfortunately, he can't get out of his own way a lot of the time, and it strains their relationship and puts his project in jeopardy.

The movie is surprisingly funny at times, as Tom seems like he is playing a character for his film. He may be totally that aloof, but it seemed like he was hamming it up a bit to better his film. That's not really a criticism because it is really funny. But it makes you wonder if this whole thing was a bit of a set up. That is the case with a lot of documentaries these days, but this one is at least entertaining enough to make you forget it.

Mistaken for Strangers is currently playing on Showtime.

Rating: ***

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