Mini Music Movie Review: Never Tear Us Apart: The Story of INXS (2014)

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Made for TV movies are tricky things; they can either be good or horrendously bad. Never Tear Us Apart falls somewhere in the middle. This new miniseries that premiered only in Australia tracks the rise and fall of one of the 80’s biggest bands, INXS. While the story itself is interesting, there are some questionable moments, stiff acting, and one unattractive leading actor that makes things iffy.

When I first heard about this movie, I wanted to see it right away. After all, I do like INXS. I had my doubts about the film, but I decided to give it a try. The one thing I noticed right away were the terrible wigs. I know it doesn’t really matter, but there were some instances that were so hard to ignore. The next issue was the guy they got for Michael Hutchence. The frontman of INXS was notoriously known for being a sex symbol. He lived, breathed, and exuded sexy. This actor had none of those qualities. There were certain moments either from far away or when he had glasses on that he did resemble the late singer. But for the most part he was a cheap excuse.

Regarding the film content, the one aspect that was really annoying was how the time frame jumped around. The beginning starts with a brief flashback of the band performing at Wembley Stadium. Then it cuts back to the band beginnings in the late 70’s. This isn’t so bad, but throughout there are awkward flashbacks to Hutchence’s childhood that are supposed to provide insight into his personality, but usually leaves the viewer confused. The worst comes during the second part of the film,which begins on the night the singer passes before going back to the mid-80s. This scene was so unnecessary; most of the people who watch the film knows what happens to Hutchence in the end, there’s no point in starting the second part with this morbid moment.

While the film was pretty good at giving the basics of the band, like their beginnings and how they dealt with their new found success, there were some details that were picked up and dropped over time. Early in the film one of the members is busted for selling drugs and is carted off to jail. Suddenly, the next night he’s in the next band meeting with them. One can assume he was bailed out but by whom? Details about the other members’ love lives, failing marriages, and several injuries are mentioned in one brief moment only to be never spoken of again. Of course Hutchence’s story line got the most attention, even if there were some unnecessary details about his love life. The film did at least try to focus on the entire band, but since the singer was so notorious it was hard not to focus only on him.

A lot of the movie is spliced together with actual live footage of the band. I get that they’re trying to recreate a lot of the stage moments, but the way it comes together is awkward. It’s so obvious that the footage is of the actual band it’s almost pathetic. Of course, the movie ends with Hutchence’s death. I understand that was a major event for the band, but they did go on without him even though no one really cared. I thought they would briefly talk about the latter years of the band, but I can also understand why they didn’t. The one saving grace of the film was the actor playing Andrew Farriss. He played the role really well, was the most convincing, and even looked like him. I actually really enjoyed his story line involving how he was the musical force behind the band.

If you’re a fan of INXS and have some time to spare, then I say it’s worth checking out. It’s obvious that they wanted to recreate the look and feel of the TLC movie, but it seems like they didn’t have the proper budget. Since two of the band members co-produced the film, the story about the band is pretty good. If anything, it’ll make you want to listen to some INXS when it’s done.

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3 comments

  1. It was made for “entertainment purposes only”. This was not the real story of the behind the scenes of the band or how they got their start. As for Michael, it was all a “persona” which most lead singers could only hope to create. At least he got away with it. The right clothes, hair style, and a few females hired to play out their roles in public. When I met him in ’83, he had to shop in “boys” clothing and favored a plaid shirt, white jeans, and hightop black Nikes. While out shopping I found a pair of combat boots for him. Instead he had a pair specially made by Dr. Marten with lifts to seem taller (remember Prince and Ricky Martin who both wear lifts and heels). It was all a charade.

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