By Chris dos Santos
8th June 2019

INXS is one of the great Australian bands of all time - not only did they capture the hearts of millions of Aussies during the 80s and 90s, they captivated that of the whole world with their music. And like Freddie Mercury to Queen, INXS’ own lead singer was vital to their success and had a fascinating life.

‘Mystify: Michael Hutchence’ unpacks the life of the man we all loved and takes us behind the songs, through never-before-seen home footage, unused music video outtakes and all-new interviews from the people he touched the most - his family, band members and girlfriends.

If you are a fan of Hutchence, I think you’ll love this film. It’s very much for those with an interest in his life back then, and acts as a nice trip down memory lane. It does occasionally get deeper - especially his relationships, with some really emotional and truthful things brought up. Kylie Minogue, who is one of the many people to be interviewed for the documentary, really talks openly about her relationship with him and offers new insight into what he was like. If you’re like me and not too familiar with the timeline (for perspective, I was born the same month he passed away) and are more familiar with the music, the film does at times get mildly confusing with where we are in his life. Also, this isn’t a doco about INXS; it’s 100% Michael’s story, so don’t be expecting much inside into who they were as a group.


The film never shows on-camera interviews, instead using a series of mostly unseen home footage and photos (much taken by Michael himself) with dialogue over the top. The filmmakers deserve a huge round of applause for the way they've strung together all this footage and audio to make a complete narrative. The music - wow, seeing this in a cinema with great sound its electrifying; you feel like you’re at these concerts. I’m not typically someone who notices image quality, but the way they have managed to restore all this footage - especially the concert footage - is beautiful and really helps elevate this documentary to that theatrical level and makes it a must-see for all fans of his music.

Even though the documentary isn’t perfect, I still highly recommend seeing it, whether to hear those songs again, remember the legend, or even to learn something new.

Because of the type of person Hutchence was, as soon as we first see him in the film you are instantly connected to the film - those big eyes that just make you feel warm, safe, and happy. Whatever the emotion you feel, it’s clear that his charm and impact on people will not wane. That’s why in 2019, a documentary about him still is a cause for interest - he's an icon who's still adored by millions. Even though the documentary isn’t perfect, I still highly recommend seeing it, whether to hear those songs again, remember the legend, or even to learn something new. Michael Hutchence’s story had a tragic ending, but it’s important to discover more about the person behind the headlines and learn the lesson once again about life in the public eye.

Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
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