BFI London Film Festival: Mystify: Michael Hutchence

Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Directed by Richard Lowenstein
Screening at LFF October 4th and 5th 2019

by Alex Plant

Many remember Michael Hutchence not only for his effortless charisma and raw sexuality as the frontman of Aussie rock sensations INXS, but unfortunately also for how his life became a tabloid circus as his dirty laundry was aired in public in the lead up to his tragic suicide in 1997. Mystify: Michael Hutchence paints a full and vivid picture of a man fuelled by a passion for sensory experiences and offers some context to better frame some of the seemingly more unscrupulous aspects of his life.

Director Richard Lowenstein (who had previously directed many INXS music videos) has crafted an intimate documentary that not only shows us the world Hutchence inhabited but often allows us to see it through his eyes, thanks to the use of footage shot by the man himself. Testimonies from those who worked with him as well as those who loved him (including Bono, Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen) are particularly effective and the lack of talking heads coupled with stylishly edited footage make this more far more of a sensory experience that feels like an entirely apt tribute to a deeply sensual man.

We get to experience Hutchence’s soft-spoken gentle nature firsthand, learn the stories behind anthems like Never Tear Us Apart and are reminded of his talent and warmth at every turn. This makes some of the revelations about the later years of his life even more heartbreaking, and it’s a shame that many of them are only getting their first public airing 22 years after his death. Mystify: Michael Hutchence is an affectionate tribute to not only one of the last great rock stars, but also a man with a uniquely beautiful perspective on life and is worth a look no matter what your memories of him are.


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