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:: Control

In Control, a stark and poetic biopic of the late Ian Curtis, lead singer of post punk legends Joy Division, the gangly front man remarks to a Belgian journalist that his music is not meant to be always beautiful. A year later he hanged himself. Such was the power and myth of Joy Division who managed to create a musical landscape that was utterly bleak and uncompromising but with a few slivers of beauty that made their songs so stirring. Tragically, the material often reflected the fractured mental state of Ian Curtis, who through out Joy Division’s career was battling epilepsy, drug abuse and a punishing tour schedule.

Curtis was not the most sociable of creatures and was quite awkward in social situations, but actor Sam Riley does a superb job in capturing Curtis’s hidden sensitivity which often sparked his creative genius. The film is directed by photographer Anton Corbijn, mostly known for his iconic black and white music photography that captured the likes of U2, Iggy Pop, John Lee Hooker and REM. In this debut feature, he employs similar elements of his photography in adopting raw, black and white visuals that portrays the gloom of seventies English suburban life with its high unemployment, smoky factories, run down pubs and clubs which so choked Curtis.

However, the greatest triumph of Closer is that it does not succumb to hero-worshiping. Corbijn’s lens remains unsentimental right through to Curtis’s tragic end. The only hint of affection is in the many scenes which show a sweaty Joy Division on stage and in their element – loud, aggressive and painfully vulnerable.

DVD Extras

Atmosphere film clip
Band track: “Digital”
Behind the Scenes/B-Roll Footage
Commentary with director Anton Corbijn
Extended Scenes
Interviews with director Anton Corbijn, Sam Riley, James Pearson, Harry Treadaway, Joe Anderson
Original Theatrical Trailer