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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 50 | January 6 , 2008|


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Film Review


Shahriar Shahid

Control is not just another rock & roll biopic. It's a journey that takes the audience directly on the life stage of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the Manchester based band Joy Division and experience how he was caught between music, emotions, and medical conditions that lead to his ultimate demise. Ian Curtis was only 23 when he hanged himself in his estranged wife's apartment, on the eve of the band Joy Division's first US tour in 1980. Acclaimed photographer and music video director Anton Corbijin made his glorious feature debut with the movie Control capturing the last 7 years of Ian Curtis's life in monochrome frames. This stunning high contrast movie is already being considered as one of the greatest of this genre and the coolest UK movie of 2007.

The movie starts rolling with the scene of a lanky schoolboy walking towards home holding an LP of David Bowie with Bowie's music in the background 'Drive in Saturday'. And then we start experiencing Ian Curtis, the front man of Joy Division who was strikingly original and his music which were extremely chilling and haunting.

Ian Curtis showed exceptional talent in writing poems when he was just a teen. The band Joy Division only survived for 4 years before Curtis's death, but within this short time, he left behind such a legacy of songs and artistry that even today anyone who wants to portray Ian Curtis gets the greatest resource in his own songs. The movie Control is based on the novel 'Touching from the Distance' by Deborah Curtis, Curtis's wife where she took the name of the book from one of Curtis's songs. Even in the movie Control director Corbijin filmed mostly the backgrounds of Curtis's each music which turned out as a brilliant piece of art that makes any audience feel being at the threshold of emotional desperation and an unnerving reminders of hollowness. There are moments that will make any audience wince especially when we see Curtis walking towards work wearing a jacket written 'HATE' on the back with the background music 'No Love Lost', or during the shattering relationship with his wife and the music 'She's Lost Control' or 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' when Debbie found that her world has disappeared which was Ian Curtis. Director Corbijin showed his mastery in portraying these moments acutely, but Control never tries to make excuses for Curtis's behavior, a man capable of hurting those he loved.

Control is extremely a well cast and well acted movie. Sam Riley was outstanding in his part of bringing Ian Curtis sharply alive. And the intensity of Sam Riley's acting especially shines during the musical performances in the movie. On the other side, Samantha Morton gave her careers best performance in her role of Debbie, a loving waiting and worrying wife. All other band performers along with Sam Riley (Joe Anderson, James Pearson and Harry Treadaway) turned them into a persuasive tribute band of Joy Division. Alexandra Maria Lara gave the perfect flavor in her role as Annik Honoré, a Belgian free lance journalist with whom Ian Curtis falls in love with. Tobby Kebbell, acted as Rob Gretton the aggressive band manager was brilliant too.

The movie Control is very stylish and straight. Director Anton Corbijin skillfully avoided romanticizing the characters and brilliantly proved why Joy Division's music is so vital and influential still today. It's a compelling portrait of Ian Curtis and a fresh breath for the rockers of today.

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