Small Screen Reviews
Mystify: Michael Hutchence Review
What’s It About?
The rise and fall of enigmatic INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, who died tragically at the age of 37 in 1997.
Who’s In It?
Archive footage and audio from Michael Hutchence himself, the band, Kylie Minogue and Helene Christensen.
Director: Richard Lowenstein (tonnes of music videos for U2 & INXS, Autoluminescent: Rowland S Howard, & Ecco Homo)
For those old enough to remember INXS, and it seems worrying that those under a certain age do not, because for a time, they certainly seemed to be the biggest band in the world, then this documentary is a tribute to one of the most mesmerising frontmen.
Charting his youth and rise to fame with his Aussie mates, director Richard Lowenstein, a friend of the band who shot many of their music videos, gives a very personal insight into the soul of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.
Using mostly archive footage and audio interviews, it soon becomes clear that far from the magnetic frontman that everyone saw, Hutchence was a shy, thoughtful and deep-thinking individual. Interviews with band members discuss Hutchence finding his feet as a youngster, but perhaps most enlighteningly of all are his ex-girlfriends in the form of Michele Bennett (who he wrote Never Tear Us Apart for), Kylie Minogue and Helene Christensen, who all speak about him with a mix of sadness and immense affection.
As fame itself and the demands of fame take over, it clearly has an impact on Hutchence, but perhaps most revealing of all is the revelation from Christensen that Hutchence had an accident in Scandinavia, suffering a blow to the head which left him with a lack of taste and smell, and it seems this had a profound effect on him and his personality subsequently.
A truly tragic story, which resulted in his suicide in 1997, it is perhaps most interesting that the moment that lingers longest after the film is footage of the Brit Awards in 1996, where Hutchence presents Oasis with Best Music Video. In typical Oasis fashion, although this time from Noel rather than brother Liam, they sneer down the microphone, “Has-beens shouldn’t be presenting XXXXXXX awards to gonna-bees”, and the crushed look on Hutchence’s face is unforgettable.
In A Nutshell:
A poignant and deeply moving tribute to the magnetic frontman, with some surprising revelations.
The archive footage particularly when focussed on the relationship between Michael Hutchence and Kylie Minogue
More time with Michael Hutchence, particularly doing what he does best would have been good.
More video footage of the contributors, and perhaps some accounts from fellow musicians and friends would have added to the overall
Release date: 09/12/2019