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102 of 109 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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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity
OK, the film is beautifully shot but fundamentally it chickens out.

There is a voice-over at the end where the Ian Curtis character complains about how difficult he's finding it all - breaking the basic rule of film which is 'show don't tell'. We should have been able to work all this out for ourselves if the script and performance were all there...
Published on 7 April 2008 by A. I. Mackenzie


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102 of 109 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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43 of 47 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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42 of 46 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
(REAL NAME)   
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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 18 Jan 2008
By 
simonpeggfan (Maidenhead UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brillant,can be depressing or a bit funny at times., 1 Dec 2009
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
I remember seeing the film in the cinemas when it came out and thankfully I wasn't disapointed.

Based on the excellent book by his wife Deborah its tells through her eyes how she had to put up with his constant gigging with Joy Division, their relationship breaking up, his epilepsiy and depression, when you you are watching Ian some parts you feel sorry for him and others you just want to hit him and tell him to treat his wife better.

Good parts in the film would obivously be the performance of the songs which are on the extras part of the disc along with the soundtrack, Rob Grettons and Peter Hook's sense of humour, the gig where a riot was caused due to Ian not being able to perform and then being told by Tony Wilson that he had created history cause of it and of course the acting of Sam Riley and Samantha Morton who were brillant at playing Ian and Deborah.

I'd have to say that the last moments of Ian's life I found disturbing and sad you felt sorry for him but he was also being selfish for killing himself.

A must for Joy Division and music fans you'll enjoy the extras that include the performances of the songs, the making of the film and the atomsphere video you won't be let down.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "So this is permanence........", 17 Jan 2008
By 
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
Anton Corbijn has made a humane and beautiful film about the tragic Joy Division singer Ian Curtis (1956-1980). Curtis (Sam Riley) is presented as a Bowie-loving apathetic adolescent who doesn't want to be in his own gang, as a loyal, responsible employee at Macclesfield's Job Centre, and as a young groom whose domestic and creative lives soon boomerang into one another. Riley plays Curtis poignantly, brilliantly imitating the on-stage epilectic fits that Curtis felt so ashamed of and sensitively portraying his terrible crisis of conscience as he shuttles between his young dowdy wife Deborah (Samantha Morton) and his beautiful Belgian affair Annik (Alexandra Maria Lara). When performing as Curtis in the packed clubs, Riley's sweaty, jerky march-dancing is startling, showing how the singer "reclaimed his epilepsy as stagecraft" as someone else has said.

The muddy black-and-white cinematography aptly evokes late-1970s Macclesfield. Corbijn doesn't resort to the usual clichés to convey the grainy atmosphere of the period: instead of TV clips of Margaret Thatcher's rise to power, we see deserted and grimy red-brick streets, a beer-filled Sex Pistol concert, a rackety wash-line hanging ominously in the kitchen, and Iggy Pop's record The Idiot spinning on the turntable. Simple details convey the conflict between domesticity and creativity: in Ian's room as a teenager, he has three folders on his desk titled 'Novels / Poems / Lyrics' whilst in Deborah's kitchen stand three upright containers labelled 'Sugar / Coffee / Tea'. The ending when it comes is expected but incredibly sad as plumes of thick cremation smoke rise into the sky over Macclesfield. It's to the film's credit that Curtis's suicide is not shown, but only heard.

However much I liked Control (and it is definitely worth seeing), it's not flawless. Annik's character is insufficiently fleshed out - she comes across as rather bland and uninteresting with only inane lines to say like "I'm a little scared of falling in love with you" (the film is based on Deborah Curtis' book Touching from a Distance, so perhaps this is understandable). Music guru Tony Wilson and manager Rob Gretton are impersonated by Craig Parkinson and Toby Kebbell, but their characters are not allowed by the tight script to develop into more rounded figures and remain stereotyped. Also, I'm a great fan of Samantha Morton's acting, but felt that she overdid the coyness of the young Deborah. She is much better when portraying the adult Debbie, shouting furiously at Ian about his affair and the collapsing of her marital expectations as well as howling in despair upon the terrible discovery of his body.

It's easy to make Control sound more bleak and fierce than it is. There is enough comic relief and Riley's smirky smile also helps to lighten a heavy atmosphere. More importantly, Corbijn does not try to romanticise Curtis as a doomed rock-star cliché. "The movie doesn't try to make them into big mythological people," Corbijn has said. "It's very down to earth, really. It's very human. It's basically the story of a young boy finding his way, and getting lost."

Recommended!
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7 of 8 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 22 Mar 2013
This review is from: Control [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This movie is one of the best ever made. So deep, touching and sad. The main actor Sam Riley probably does the role of his life. 5 stars without a doubt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern day black and white classic, 24 Dec 2011
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of my top ten films. It is the only film I've ever watched at the cinema and gone to see again the next day. Anton Corbijn the director is a photographer, doing much of his work in black and white, and it shows. It is fabulously shot. It is a simple story, well told, with terrific acting. It is funny, it is sad, it is a beautiful period piece - set in the late 70's - and has great music. Fantastic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational, 29 Nov 2010
This review is from: Control [DVD] (DVD)
If you haven't heard of Joy Division, then you will be converted. Nothing but praise for Corbijn, a truly stunning picture. Don't be put of by the black and white picture, if anything it adds to the film. Well worth the buy!!
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Control [DVD]
Control [DVD] by Anton Corbijn (DVD - 2008)
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