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100 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Stark, Beautiful, A Classic.....
I've now seen this story played out 3 times, twice at the cinema in the last 2 days and once as a 15 year old Northern lad. In the true spirit of the "Kitchen Sink" genre, it begins like a modern day "A kind of loving" and has a touch of " Room at the top" (the wedding car scene). Sam Riley is outstanding, portraying Curtis in a way that does not show him as the icon he...
Published on 16 Oct 2007 by R. Deighton

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watchable but not particularly insightful
Samantha Morton as always is fantastic in this film, and the lead character does justice to Ian Curtis. However very little, if any, of the film gives us an insight into who Ian was as a person or how he wrote his songs. We're made aware that he's a poet and a singer, and that he suffers from epilepsy and mental health problems - but he never really opens up we never see...
Published on 8 Dec 2009 by Dave Stewart


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100 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Stark, Beautiful, A Classic....., 16 Oct 2007
By 
R. Deighton (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
I've now seen this story played out 3 times, twice at the cinema in the last 2 days and once as a 15 year old Northern lad. In the true spirit of the "Kitchen Sink" genre, it begins like a modern day "A kind of loving" and has a touch of " Room at the top" (the wedding car scene). Sam Riley is outstanding, portraying Curtis in a way that does not show him as the icon he became posthumously but as a somewhat immature 20+ year old man. This of course is countered by a soundtrack that reminds us of his musical genius played by the actors in a very authentic "Garagey way". A portrait of a man torn between his old and new life complicated by the onset of an illness he was struggling to come to terms with.

If that wasn't enough the photography is glorious, every other shot could be hung on the wall, it never looked so good when I was a lad! I understand that Corbijn was trying to shoot the film like a sequence of music videos and with his massive experience as a still photographer it all works beautifully. He sank a large amount of his own money into this project, and you can tell that making it was important to him as a fan and aquaintance of the band You can see his passion and committment to the film throughout. The sequence in the kitchen towards the end of the film was electric, an incredibly haunting dramatic shot. This Film demands the biggest screen that you can find.

I read a review that said you don't watch this film you live it, the first time I saw Control I was angry at the futility of it all, the second I wept tears for lost youth, his and mine. My advice ? Get yourself a really big telly and a really big box of tissues and enjoy what must be considered the best music film of all time. There's no getting away from the end, like Ian's all too short life it comes too soon in this film and there ain't gonna be a sequel, but buy the DVD and enjoy watching it over and over again. A Classic........
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Film of Intense and Tragic Beauty, 22 Nov 2007
By 
Get Tae Falkirk (Falkirk, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
Having read and in many cases re-read the majority of books written about Ian Curtis and Joy Division, while living with the music for approaching 30 years the anticipation surrounding the release of "Control" almost became a living and breathing obsession.

I was lucky enough to see Joy Division in Glasgow and remember being transfixed by the presence and intensity of Ian Curtis; it was just the once and fleeting but even now, after all these years, that feeling of witnessing something special and unique still lingers.

As a result I approached Control with a preconception of what the story should tell us and what / who the characters were and how they should be portrayed.

Dealing with the negatives first, for the sake of brevity a lot of the key musical moments were either ignored or given passing reference, i.e. the recording and issue of Unknown Pleasures and the significance of the Closer lyrics as an insight into Ian's state of mind leading up to the 18th May 1980.

That however is the only negative and given the emphasis on the story on the triangle of Ian, Deborah and Annick it was the correct decision. My complaint, such as it is, is probably because I'm a bit of an anorak where Joy Division is concerned and would have liked the film to be longer, totally selfish and impractical.

Sam Riley and Samantha Morton are simply awesome; I was gripped from the outset and immediately put aside my preconceptions and ended up being swept along by the story, the cast (who were all outstanding) and the cinematography, all credit to Anton Corbijn.

The closing scenes were simply overwhelming and I don't have the words to capture the impact it had on me.

This is a film for all; a film for people who can appreciate a story lovingly and painstakingly constructed, or should that be re-constructed; a film for people who wish to be challenged and reflect on their own lives; above all it is a film for music fans and fans of Joy Division in particular.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quietly moving., 20 April 2008
By 
Jasmine Grant (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
ive never been a fan of joy division, but now i see what all the hype is about! the movie is a piece of art! the black and white style of the film gave this the gritty northern feel it needed. you can really understand sam riley's character and sympathise with his sense of isolation and the way he sees the world. At the start of the film it shows you his fascination with artists like bowie and roxy music, and the book 'crash' by jg ballard. its clear this young man spent lots of time alone in his youth and lived his world around fantasy. you see how when the reality of a ababy and a wife and the general mundaneness of life hits him its a massive shock. Samantha Morton is outstanding at playing the earthy working class wife. even though he's (ian curtis) is basically committing adultery, you can understand why. In this film you like all the characters and you don't seem to blame anyone. A really thought provoking movie that gets you thinking 'what's it all about' and how human beings are very vulnerable. you can appreciate the downward spiral he encountered and the way he was ill equipped for dealing with lifes realities. basically he was a very sensetive man and a bit of a hopeless romantic. a sad loss, but he made his mark.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, but beautiful, 8 Oct 2007
By 
Jeffrey M. Black "jblack437" (Stockport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
The film fits Joy Division's music perfectly. It is beautifully shot in monochrome, the two leads are superb and the attention to period detail is meticulous. Actual Macclesfield locations are used - particularly the house on Barton Street.

Like most people, I only saw Joy Division via the handful of film clips that exist. The live scenes in the film look totally convincing and Sam Riley captures Curtis's manic, twitching intensity perfectly.

As it ostensibly deals with the breakdown and suicide of a confused young man, don't expect many laughs - though the blunt, wisecracking Rob Gretton character provides much needed light relief. Neither is it a cliched band biopic as it is more concerned with the more mundane kitchen sink drama of a failing relationship.

Joy Division spods can have fun spotting factual errors (e.g. they didn't do the song Transmission for Granada TV), but if you accept that sometimes facts need to be compressed to fit a film, this is fairly faithful to the true events (and yes, Ian did have a donkey jacket with HATE on the back).

Nobody really knows why Ian Curtis killed himself, but the contributing factors are lined up like suspects in a murder case - prescription drugs, infidelity, career pressure, debilitating illness, etc. It doesn't touch upon Deborah Curtis's scary assertion in her biography that Ian might have planned it all along. Best not go there.

If you have any attachment to the band, this is required viewing (and I doubt if you've waited for the DVD). It's the necessary counter-balance to the hedonism of 24 Hour Party people and more in keeping with with the bleak, northern soul of Joy Division's music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killers? Interpol? The Walkmen? - Meet the original, 30 Aug 2008
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this for the second time last night and just wanted to write and say what a fantastic film it is. The wigs are a bit dubious and John Cooper Clarke looks about sixty whereas back then he would have been thirty, but these are mere trivialities. The difference between Sam Riley's Curtis and Sean Harris' depiction in 24 Hour Party People is marked (off stage and seizures apart). I have to confess Harris portrays Ian Curtis in the way I imagined him to be - quiet, intense and `deep'. Whereas in Control, off stage - until his descent into depression and despair, he is a jovial, sweet natured young man. Given that this film is based on Deborah Curtis' account of her husband's life, I take it that this is a truer representation.

Anton Corbjin's direction is impeccable and interestingly, I cannot seem to find any site depicting goofs in this film, which means it's flawless, a rare thing. Even if you are not a Joy Division fan I would still recommend Control as at times it is nearer the kitchen sink drama of the 1960s than a rock star biopic.

Five stars all the way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Closer, 14 Feb 2008
By 
Paul M "ROYALSFAN" (Reading ,England) - See all my reviews
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After the hype,is Control really any good?The answer is an emphatic yes,and crucially the film attempts to cover the Ian Curtis story with a more detached approach than from its main source material[Deborah Curtis' "Touching From A Distance"] .This means that Curtis' relationship with Annik Honore is given credence amongst the twin pressures of Joy Division's rise to prominance,and the singers apparant physical and mental deterioration.

Anton Corbijn has drawn on his own experience of his time photographing and knowing Joy Division, to give a convincing and believable account of this extraordinary band,and the directors closeness to the story is obvious in his willingness to bring a sense of ordinariness to the myth of Joy Division,and their troubled singer.

The actors give pretty convincing performances of the musicians at the beginning of their careers,and most impressively manage to pull off several credible live performances during the film [and thankfully these are expanded as welcome dvd extras].Both lead actresses, Samantha Morton,and Alexandra Maria Lara give perfomances that suggest the story of Ian Curtis was a tragic one where everybody suffered an insurmountable loss

Ultimately, Control is not an Ian Curtis biopic[ Corbijn makes this very clear in the excellent 23 minute "making of" documentary],but a very human tragedy, that just happened to have some of the most astonishing rock music ever made as its background and context.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peaks and pitfalls - lessons for all entertainers, 12 Feb 2008
By 
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An ego. A necessary evil in the world of entertainment. It's the thing that keeps you strong when you're first starting out, pushing you on when all the reviews tell you you're no good at what you do. But later on, when things start to grow and change, it may be the thing that makes you feel depressed because you're no longer in control. In the case of Ian Curtis, it was his illness, his relationships, and Joy Division's plan to tour America which made him feel out of control. Anton Corbijn's film covers all these things, and with clarity, with passion, and (most importantly) with a balanced view. Ian Curtis, like all humans, was flawed, and sometimes behaved in questionable ways. But his contribution to modern music cannot be denied, and this version of his story is just about the best and most accurate you will see. Don't miss it. And yes, there are lessons here for all modern entertainers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Dawn Still Fading......., 3 Nov 2007
By 
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
No matter how things are dressed up or represented, Joy Division remain an integral part of the British music psyche.They will just not go away.They represent a ground breaking genre, the first one susperseding the Sex Pistols. This may explain our fixation with Ian Curtis and his Band. Control wont be the last word about the music,the Band or Ian Curtis for that matter. When London Records (Part of Warner)bought the rights to the recordings they knew exactly what there where doing. The longevity and legacy of the band and its members will continue to be assured.

Control was inevitable because our curiosity got the better of us. Us fans of Joy Division have always felt cheated-because we are selfish-because Joy Division's lifespan was so terribly short. Us of who shared the excitement,pain,joy and the catharsis of the music invested our souls so totally,then had it all taken away with the suicide of Ian Curtis and the death of Joy Division. So many people even today still seek some answers. Questions that can never really be answered.I always felt grateful and a little smug that I was fortunate to see the band in Edinburgh 1979 with the Buzzcocks. I have the "I was there syndrome".

So what about control? The interesting thing for me was that, having read most of the publications that have been written about Ian and the band, combined with my recollections of the past: I found that I had more or less anticipated the scenes throughout the film, it was almost like I had been there before. One flaw I did notice was the scene showing the Granada appearance should have been Shadowplay not Transmission as depicted in the film.

Anyone around my age in their 40s will recognise the scenes within the film. Thus I dont think there was anything within the film that can be considered a revelation of any kind. But sometimes seeing film is easier than reading a book. I do wonder how people might experience this film if they were previously aloof to the dynamics of the band and the time of Ian's suicide. I also get the impression, you may need to be British or more to the point Mancurian to get the point just as being Scottish aided an understanding of Trainspotting.Industrial Manchester was an ingrediant far removed for the glitzy world of the London record companies.

The performance of Toby Kebbell as Rob Gretton is just brilliant!

And in respect of today's pantomine pop, what are we gonna do when the novelty has gone?
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 18 Jan 2008
By 
simonpeggfan (Maidenhead UK) - See all my reviews
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Corbijn is first and foremost a photographer - you may be aware of him from his work with Joy Division and Depeche Mode - and the style he brings to the film is self-evident. He and the cast also bring plenty of substance to the film as well.

Riley has the has the hardest role - the task of telling a very familiar story: on the eve of the band's first trip to America, Curtis hanged himself. But even if you don't know the story - if you don't know your Joy Division from your Cheeky Girls - that won't matter, it's still a great account of Curtis' short influential life, reclaiming the myths of him as a trench-coated visionary and reminding us that here, at 23, was a kid who died too young.
Making clear Curtis' humanity, Corbijn gives his tale a rich and unlikely seam of dry humour to counter the darkness of his moods.

The energy of this film when Joy Division finally perform is astounding - playing live rather than miming, the cast bring the band's sound vividly to life, but again Riley is the standout in his imitation of Curtis.

An excellent first film from Corbijn
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly moving film - the story of a legend, 21 Feb 2008
By 
L. Green "Feltano" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
Barcode: 5060116721324

I'm not overly a fan of Joy Division but was still very interested in this film being a big fan of New Order and Anton's work with Depeche Mode.
The film looks awesome, filmed as it is in crisp black and white - you really get a feel for the grim reality of the working class north of England which makes the band's success all the more inspiring. Special mention has to go to Sam Riley - his portrayal of Curtis is flawless and for the film's 2 hour duration he truly becomes him. Tony Wilson is also immediately likable and adds a dash of comedy to a mostly very dark film.

My only qualms with the film is that at numerous points in it i felt intense dislike for Curtis - he is shown as treating his wife awfully, not suporting her in bringing up his son and he just can't stop cheating on her. However, if it was the director's intention for us to feel that way then fair enough.

However, that said, you cannot help but feel for his character. The way he carries on through the inevitablity of his worsening fits - always sdtriving to express himself further and further musically to the way the fans in the gigs worship him is purely admirable. By the time the film comes to its sudden ending - his death is heartwrenchingly sad. His life, gone in a flash, made all the worse by how young he was and all the potential he had to fulfil.
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Control [DVD]
Control [DVD] by Anton Corbijn (DVD - 2008)
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