Mar 2, 2012
The 2007 British film, directed by Anton Corbijn, tells the story of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Jov Division, a famous rock band of the late 1970s. Married young, he decides to pursue a music career after 3 guys casually tell him, at a Sex Pistols concert none of the less, that they need a singer for they band. They start as Warsaw, but quickly change their name to Joy Division and begin touring UK and then Europe. But life is not easy for Curtis, as he has to battle epilepsy, an unhappy marriage, and hard work.
The story is interesting and sad, as it depicts Ian as a very mellow, introspective, troubled young man, who just doesn't seem to fit into this world, either if it's at home, with his wife and daughter, or on stage, or just around his friends. He always feels out of place, outnumbered, caged in and can't make up his mind on one spot, on one place where he can feel comfortable. That is the saddest thing to see- a man who is always looking for himself and his happiness, but never gets to see it or enjoy it, and that lack of control over his life is what pushed him to take that radical decision in the end.
I must say that Control is one of the best British films I have ever seen. Shot in Black&White, it perfectly captures the mood and essence of that era, and the performances are superb. Sam Riley absolutely shines as Ian Curtis and plays him with such ease, but, in the same time, with such complexity and wisdom, that is wonderful and moving to watch. Samantha Morton, as Debbie, his wife, stands in the same high league, adding so much passion, love and sweetness to her character, making it believable and endearing. Actually, all of the cast is very good, continuing with Alexandra Maria Lara as Annik, Ian's lover (she is now happily married to Riley and they live in Berlin), Toby Kebbell playing Rob, their manager, and the band, formed by Joe Anderson (as Peter Hook, the bass player), James Anthony Pearson (as Bernard Sumner, the guitarist) and Harry Treadway (as Stephen Morris, the drummer and percussionist). The moments were you see them playing on stage are live and the actors are actually playing the instruments and singing, as they wanted to make it as real as possible. If you look up on youtube the same performances of the band (like Transmission or Dead Souls), you will see they are very similar and they encapsulate the style and vibe of Joy Division.
As expected, the soundtrack is amazing, and I just discovered a new love for Joy Division; their sound is so simple and catchy, yet very specific and Ian Curtis's vocals are haunting and interesting, perfectly mixing with the good melody. I especially loved She's lost control, Love will tear us apart, Trasmission, but others, as well.
You should definitely see Control soon, because it is a great film and well worth your time, especially if you like biopics or British films- it stands out in both categories.