Frames a fairly conventional and unadventurous telling of the Ian Curtis tale in a series of distancing black and white mastershots and immaculate acting - creating a kind of virtual late seventies / eighties world which you can wander through - either as a fan or curious time traveller.
If you know the bare bones of the Joy Division story already this won't add much - and if you don't , or want more, then books are better at biography than film. Unless the filmmaker really attacks the subject with brio - which this one doesn't.
What left the biggest impression from this telling was the determined stripping away of the mystique of the band in favour of a story of male emotional inarticulacy - infact not much articulacy of any sort. The rest of Joy Division are reduced to little more than grunting lads - prototype Loaded magazine everymen - taking up the same cameo roles they played in the the far braver, more disrespectful and exuberent 24 hour party people.
Though the film is devoted to the personal life of Curtis, and takes the time and space to explore it thoroughly, it still doesn't provide a very convincing explanation of the big whys of Curtis's life - other than to reduce it to domestic banalities. Maybe that's the way life is - but given that the focus of the film was Curtis's private life then I was hoping for something deeper than the imagery and something which connects with the extraordinary, powerful music - which in this version runs almost parallel to the domestic story (although the music still punches great holes in the conventions of the drama). It looks like the Manchester music scene is now fair game for the biopic merchants - just hope Morrissey the Movie is more adventurous than this!