Review: Control

By | January 6, 2008

Control movie poster

If you plan to see Control, the biopic of Ian Curtis from Joy Division, read no further if you don’t want any spoilers, other than to know that I highly recommend the movie.

After writing and recording a few incredible albums, Curtis hanged himself at the age of 23 in 1980. Years later when I read brief news articles about his death, I learned little more than that he was a depressed musician. Control (which was co-produced by his wife Debbie Curtis) clears up a lot of the mystery. Afflicted with epilepsy, Curtis was also trapped in a love triangle with a wife that he married while quite young and with an employee at the Belgian Embassy who wants to interview bands. He loved his wife and child too much to completely walk away from them, but he also loved Annik too much to leave her, even though he knew that the relationship was destroying his marriage.

Of course, one hopes Curtis’s wife didn’t just take the opportunity to rewrite history to make herself look better. In general, she did come across pretty well in the movie, although her husband’s mistress was also portrayed as a decent person who was scared of falling in love with Ian.

Some people have criticized Control because it didn’t focus enough on the band. Control isn’t the Joy Division movie, though. It’s a movie about the life of Ian Curtis.

I recommend also watching 24 Hour Party People for another perspective on Ian Curtis and Joy Division, although Curtis is portrayed more as an abrasive jerk in that movie.

One amusing bit of trivia mentioned at IMDB is that the actor who played Curtis also played the lead singer for The Fall in 24 Hour Party People. This is amusing, because in Control, Joy Division’s manager tells Curtis that things could be worse, he could be the lead singer for The Fall.

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