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Mystify: Michael Hutchence

4 out of 5 stars

This moving, cliché-free doc delivers sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll – and plenty more besides.

Phil de Semlyen

Time Out says

Snake-hipped INXS frontman Michael Hutchence defies plenty of rock ’n’ roll stereotypes in this snappily told and ultimately deeply sad doc. The Aussie rocker had it all – looks, stadium gigs, supermodel girlfriends, villas in Provence – but died at 37, troubled and alone. As director Richard Lowenstein shows, he was no ordinary rock star but a thoughtful, home-loving man, more likely to have his nose in a copy of Baudelaire than a mound of coke. At one point, Bono recalls him musing on the eternal nature of the olive tree. You don’t get that from Motörhead.

There’s music, of course, but ‘Mystify’ is mostly pieced together via home video and fly-on-the-wall footage. Its unseen interviewees and gauzy intimacy recalls ‘Amy’. Friends, family and his bandmates open up in a way that speaks of a deep trust in the filmmaker, INXS’s long-time music video director. In a lovable overshare, Kylie remembers how he ‘awakened her desire’.

‘Mystify’ may seem a strange thing to call the film, even if it is named after an INXS song – a documentary’s job, after all, is to do the opposite. But you’ll forgive this one for failing to break its subject’s spell. As the tragedy unfolds, there’s a strange solace in seeing this captivating enigma somehow emerging intact. 

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 18 October 2019
  • Duration:102 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Richard Lowenstein
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