In 2010, the rock band The National released their fifth album, High Violet. After ten years as critical darlings, the band was finally enjoying wider recognition. As they were about to embark on the biggest tour of their career, lead singer Matt Berninger invited his younger brother, Tom, to be a part of their tour crew. A budding filmmaker and horror movie enthusiast, Tom brought along his camera to film the experience.
Mistaken For Strangers follows the story of two brothers at very different moments in their lives. Approaching forty, Matt is just now beginning to experience life as a rock star. Before he is invited on tour, Tom, age 30, is still living at home in Cincinnati.
On tour, Tom struggles to keep up with his crew duties. He watches his older brother perform sold-out shows for screaming fans, and feels increasingly cut off from him. He doesn't always understand the band's success (he prefers heavy metal). He falls into bad habits, loses track of the film he is trying to make, and Matt starts to come down on him. Eventually, Tom gets fired.
After tour, Tom moves in with Matt and his wife, Carin, who put him up until he finishes the film. This proves difficult; Tom shot over 200 hours of footage. He's scattered, overwhelmed and feeling lost. The film Tom finally produces is a hilarious and touching look at two very different brothers, and an odd but strangely moving portrait of a popular, nuanced band.
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