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Biopic of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. Directed by photographer Anton Corbijn, who took some of Joy Division's most iconic pictures, this film is inspired by the book 'Touching From A Distance' written by Curtis' widow, Deborah, who is played here by Samantha Morton. It tells the story of how Curtis (Sam Riley), married to Deborah at a young age, becomes distracted from his marriage by the growing success of his band and his burgeoning attraction towards Belgian journalist, Annik Honore. His battle with epilepsy adds to his feelings of despair until he eventually takes his own life on the eve of Joy Division's first American tour. Filmed in black and white, the film captures the time and the place with cool precision.
Musicians have long proven to be a well of inspiration for film makers, and so it proves again with director Anton Corbjns telling of the story of Ian Curtis and Joy Division, Control.
Based on the book of the same name, the first of Controls many successes is to make prior knowledge of the subject matter unnecessary. And while music is an important part of the film, the movie ultimately focuses in on the relationship between Curtis and his wife, Deborah. Its a moving and emotional rollercoaster, and one realised with exceptional skill and grace by Sam Riley and the ever-astonishing Samantha Morton in the lead acting roles. The former is someone very much to watch, the latter is surely long overdue an Oscar.
Credit too must go to director Corbjn, though, who builds up Control with diligence and discipline. He shapes a musical biopic that distinguishes itself from its numerous contemporaries, and while it perhaps doesnt spend enough time with the Joy Division side of the story, its a film thats otherwise hard to fault.
Control, ultimately, not only managed to sidestep many of the contrivances of the genre, but it also offers a raw, electric and emotional experience, and proved to be one of 2007s finest films. Dont miss it. --Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
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........
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really great portrayal of such a talented artist.
Very good acting an enjoyable viewing experience- well worth watching.
A good film on the early days of Joy Division through to their end with Ian Curtis' tragic suicide.
The lead actor's performance was very good and the story stayed true... Read more
Great Bio pic.... Brilliant acting, fantastic music, sad storyPublished 1 month ago by Mr John B Staff
Brilliantly acted portrayal of a life cut tragically short faced with a growing number of competing and incompatible pressures, set to the moody backdrop of a grey town and dark... Read morePublished 2 months ago by D A Wright