Control, the Movie, Reviewed by Sabrina Dersel

Control, (Joy Division)

Directed by – Anton Corbijn
Written by – Matt Greenhalgh Deborah Curtis
Starring – Sam Riley,Samantha Morton,Toby Kebbell,Alexandra Maria Lara
Music by – New Order
Release date – 5 October 2007
Running time – 122 minutes

Control is a 2007 biographical film about the life of Ian Curtis, singer of the late-1970s English post-punk band Joy Division. Their most famous songs include “Love Will Tear Us Apart”,” Isolation”,” She’s Lost Control” and “Shadowplay” to name a few.

It is the first feature film directed by Anton Corbijn, who had worked with Joy Division as a photographer. The movie shots are all beautiful photographs of their own. The movie was filmed partly on location in Nottingham, Manchester, and Macclesfield, including areas where Curtis lived. Filming began on 3 July 2006 and lasted for seven weeks and was shot in colour and then printed to black-and-white, hence the particular beauty of the photography.

Ian Curtis: “Side effects include: drowsiness, apathy, and blurred vision… I’m taking two”.

‘Control’ is a work of art, thanks to its evocative black and white cinematography and sensational performances from Sam Riley and Samantha Morton.
The movie is based on the book “Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis & Joy Division” by the enigmatic singer’s wife Deborah Curtis.

Sam Riley and Samantha Morton star as Ian and Deborah Curtis, and the film portrays the events of the couple’s lives from 1973 to 1980, focusing on their marriage, the formation and career of Joy Division, Ian’s struggle with epilepsy, and his extramarital affair with Belgian journalist Annik Honoré, culminating in his May 1980 suicide.

The Killers cover the 1979 Joy Division song “Shadowplay” on the soundtrack.However, all live Joy Division performances in the film are performed by the actors. They learned how to play the songs themselves so the scenes where the band is playing live is not from tape, but actually the actors playing live.
The actors contribute a cover of an original Joy Division song (“Transmission”) to the soundtrack. Incidental tracks by 1970s artists like David Bowie, Kraftwerk and the Buzzcocks are the original recordings. New Order provided the original incidental music for the soundtrack.
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Critics wise, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris, two of the founding members of Joy Division, generally praised the film. However, Morris has disputed its accuracy, saying “None of it’s true really” but acknowledged the need to bend facts because “the truth is too boring”. Hook criticised the preview audience’s reaction, saying how at the end of the film “it really hurt and everybody started clapping. It would’ve been nice to have a dignified silence”.

Tony Wilson , the Factory Records boss who used his life savings to fund Joy Division‘s debut,once said:” if it is a choice between the truth and the legend, take the legend every time”.

“How does it feel to watch the life and death of your father being re-enacted on film? “ Natalie Curtis, daughter of Joy Division singer, Ian Curtis, went on set, camera in hand, to find out and reported for The Guardian.

“Initially I was dead against visiting the set of Control…We were shown some rushes and the reality behind it suddenly hit me….There was a baby scene I found especially upsetting; everyone cheered and said, “That’s you.” I drank more than I normally would that night”.

If you haven t seen it yet, you definitely should go and buy it!