CONTROL (2007)


Directed By: Anton Corbijn
Written By: Matt Greenhalgh
Based On The Book By: Deborah Curtis
Cinematography By: Martin Ruhe
Editor: Andrew Hulme
Music By: New Order 

 Cast: Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, Alexandria Maria Lara, Joe Anderson, James Anthony Pearson, Harry Treadaway, Toby Kebbell, Andrew Sheridan, Richard Bremmer

Ian Curtis is a quiet and rather sad lad who works for an employment agency and sings in a band called Warsaw. He meets a girl named Debbie whom he promptly marries and his band, of which the name in the meantime has been changed to Joy Division, gets more and more successful. Even though Debbie and he become parents, their relationship is going downhill rapidly and Ian starts an affair with Belgium Annik whom he met after one of the gigs and he’s almost never at home. Ian also suffers from epilepsy and has no-good medication for it. He doesn’t know how to handle the feelings he has for Debbie and Annik and the pressure the popularity of Joy Division and the energy performing costs him.

With it’s Un-obstructive view the film is a docudrama that uses a lot of styled shots and black and white film. Instead of color to tell the story of Ian Curtis and the fame found in the band he helped form Joy division.

The black-and-white film was actually shot in color, then transferred to black and white because, according to the director, the black and white film “was so grainy it looked like Super-8 even in 35 millimeter.”

According to Samantha Morton, the director mortgaged his house to raise finance for the film. His Debut. He had previously had a successful career as an acclaimed Music Video Director. Which makes sense that his debut be somewhat music related.

The script for the film was written to be told in flashback. This was later changed by the director because he felt it was more emotional to follow Ian’s journey linearly.

While it can be viewed as pretentious and unnecessary the lack of color, not only makes it seem classic as historical. It also presents Curtis’s simple view of the world. Very little joy.

The film just exists as it recreates events that happened and the story.

What is amazing is that the film just is, he story happens. The film the camera let’s the story unfold. It doesn’t feel like a production, it doesn’t manipulate the audience at all, but makes you feel emotional. as the film goes on the actors are all great. As the actors never feel like they are performing or acting.

Though the film seems more like a docudrama presenting a love story. While artistic importations are building, coming true and becoming successful. Yet being tortured by it only seeing the negative side of it. Not finding the pleasures you thought you would and more building up and being created because of it. It takes you along and keeps you captivated.

Ian Curtis was an artist maybe a bit pompous, but he felt things deeply and the film has a certain deepness, but a sorrowful cloud hangs over it. As do most biographical films because you already know the unfortunate ending. You just wonder how they are going to present it.

The film comes off as unemotional as it’s subject who internalized everything, but never showed too much emotion. Which is the same way the film works. It certainly is a piece of art.

The film also has a nice bit of humor. That is naturalistic and doesn’t feel like a gimmick.

These types of roles are tricky, as you get your big chance at the big screen. Not only because of talent, but the fact that you look like the subject person you are playing. You have to question afterwards are you really that talented or was it the luck of genetics?

Sometimes it’s like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but as they get more success he seems to sink deeper into depression. We see him get more problems that seem to get the better of him on his own. By the End you realize how much success he had and imagine if he had lived longer what could have been.

You just wonder how they are going to present it, but at the same time he film comes off as unemotional as it’s subject. Who internalized everything, but never showed too much emotion

I didn’t discover Joy Division when Maybe should have. Not In my angst ridden, depressed and moody teen years. Instead In my moody late 20’s. While I am a fan of the music. Discovering the music a few years before this movie came out.

Watching this film enriched the music for me. As it gave more insight in what inspired it and what it meant to, to not only the ones making it, but those in the audience also. That is just my take on it.

The film is mostly a recreation of events that we are witnessing for the first time, but have heard of.

The film is never sensationalistic, actually it’s rather matter of fact and mellow. The film feel melancholy and miraculous.

The concert scenes with the actors really playing and singing live not pre-recorded nor lip synching. That surprisingly come close to the original sound.

The actors playing Joy Division 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.

Though not as physical a role on the actors. This film reminded me of Steve McQueen’s film HUNGER as far as mood. It makes you feel uncomfortable and haunts you with an un-restored quality. Yet you stay mesmerized.

Grade: A-

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