There’s a certain scene in this part two of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, where you will find yourself saying “Michael really was troubled.” Where part one of this impressive rock biopic was all about the bands early beginnings and rise to fame, this second part is all about INXS’ downfalls, inner demons and ultimately, the heart break caused by the death of Michael Hutchence.
Just like part one, the story works on jumping back and forth between different time lines. We start off in 1997 right before Michael’s death, him alone in a hotel room reminiscing of good times before being ported back to 1988 where the band are having a meeting with their manager and are demanding to take a years break.
It’s towards the end of this break, where we begin to see the cracks starting to form within the band. Rolling Stone magazine wants the band for an interview, but only want Michael for the cover. Their international success has left Australia feeling cold towards the band and the change in the music scene in the early 90’s (where grunge indie bands like Nirvana began to top sell) see’s INXS almost make a reggae album.
Michael’s flurry of celebrity lovers are looked at more closely, though the storyline involving Kylie Minogue (Samantha Jade) is dealt with rather quickly and not given much thought. Instead, we learn more about Michael’s time with supermodel Helena Christensen (Mallory Jansen) and finally, with Paula Yates (Georgina Haig)
Again, Luke Arnold continues to play Michael Hutchence with a reckless, flawless and effortless flair. Whether it’s sitting in on a band meeting dressed in a white suit and dark glasses or struggling to comprehend the custody dispute between Paula Yates and ex husband Bob Geldof (a situation often speculated leading to Michael’s death) or parading around on stage, microphone in hand, enthralling a stadium full of adoring fans, Luke Arnold IS Michael Hutchence. His embodiment of Michael’s cockiness, recklessness and fearlessness only nails in just how perfect this casting decision is.
The same goes for the rest of the cast. Damon Herriman as INXS’ manager Chris Murphy (Murphy actually produced the mini series), Hugh Sheridan as Garry Gary Beers, Andrew Ryan who bears an uncanny resemblance to his on screen alter ego of Andrew Farriss, Alex Williams as Kirk Pengilly, Ido Drent as Jon Farriss and newcomer Nick Masters as Tim Farriss all manage to stand out in their own right and own the material.
The only negative I have to offer: Grant Piro as Molly Meldrum and Brendan Barnett as U2 singer Bono offer quite cringe worthy performances but thankfully, their scenes are minimal and will only mildly distract.
There will be some tears (I know I did – unexpectedly) and Arnold’s final scene as INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence is fitting and honest as it is emotional and heart breaking.
INXS: Never Tear Us Apart – Part 2, airs Sunday night, Channel 7 at 8:30pm.