The Australian rock scene in the 1980’s was thick with testosterone, thumping drums and guitars screaming notes that turned crowds into seething masses worshipping at the altar of the band/singer they’d come to see.
In the 1980’s there was no bigger Aussie band, at home or abroad, than INXS – and no more worshipped singer than Michael Hutchence.
In what the Seven Network are billing as “the TV event of the year”, the two part mini-series INXS: Never Tear Us Apart relives the glory days of the band from Perth once known as the Farris Brothers, charting their road to fame and international stardom and ending with the untimely death of lead singer Hutchence.
The series was made with the assistance and support of the remaining members of the band, with a few of them making background cameos throughout. While that may be de rigeur for a show of this nature what it unlocked was access to the live and studio recordings of the band so that actual tracks could be used to accentuate the unique sound INXS offered. Intercut with archival footage the series is thick with nostalgia and sure to connect audiences with a time where pub rock – real pub rock – existed and flourished.
Luke Arnold as Hutchence is mesmerising – his performance mimics the singer well and evokes memories of some of their finest performances. It pulls no punches in delving into his drug and girlfriend habits… or the rest of the band, for that matter. The party scenes are repleat with naked bodies and drug use, allegedly toned down to what it was actually like for the group and their hangers on. Party, party, party.
Jane Harber (Michelle) and Damon Herriman (Chris Murphy) deserve special mention for their strong performances throughout part 1; as do the wig makers for all the hairpieces/mullets worn by the players (in some scenes the mullets are better than some of the performances). Ryan Johnson delivers one of the best 80’s bogans yet seen on TV. For all the hoorah around Samathana Jade’s first stint in acting, she barely graces the screen in part one (and when she does… she makes a better singer than actor).
INXS: Never Tear Us Apart is a fun look at the life of a band that helped shape and change the 80’s and early 90’s. The cast is solid though some performances are weak and the narrative jumps forward and back in time with little notice. The script is weak and fans will spot some of the dramatic flourishes applied to the band and their success (or at least the speed thereof) but likely will forgive it these sins.
If you’re anything like this reviewer given the level of promotion this series received during the recent Australian Open, every ad break I expected a game of tennis to break out.
INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (2 parts) – Sun 8:30pm, Ch7.