Control

June 14, 2008
By Alexandra Piunti, San Jose, CA

Control is photographer Anton Corbijn’s first film, a biopic of Ian Curtis. Ian, portrayed by Sam Riley in the film, was the lead singer for the legendary British rock band Joy Division. Control depicts the last seven years of his life: Ian’s troubled marriage, his affair with Annik Honoré, his music and career, and the struggles with epilepsy and depression that ultimately led him to commit suicide just before Joy Division’s first American tour.
After his death, many of Ian’s friends spoke out and said that the warning signs were all there, but everyone thought it was just an act. Control reaffirms this but refrains from antagonizing those who made that mistake. This isn’t just a Joy Division movie, as some expected it to be, nor is it like watching a stiff documentary about Ian Curtis on a VH1 “Rockstars of the 70’s” special. It’s a tragic love story about a brilliant man with a torn heart and a devastatingly burdened mind.
Ian Curtis may have lost control, but Corbijn’s near-perfect directing somehow allows the film to move along in a dreamlike matter. Even when the motion and the words are quick, it seems so still. Shot in black and white, each second of screen time looks like one of his famed photographs: raw, honest, haunting, and oddly, but distinctly, beautiful.


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