Control, Joy Division, Ian Curtis and Anton Corbijn

in AppleOutsider edited January 2014

I saw the movie Control this weekend.

I was an early fan of Joy Division with the help of the New Musical Express, college radio and 3rd Street Jazz down in Philly. I as many other Americans didn't get a chance to see them because on the very day before they were to fly to the states, lead singer Ian Curtis hung himself.

In many ways, much like other rock stars who's lives were cut short, he became a legend in the post-punk 80's. Do not label them, they were unique, in no way were they "New Wave". Their music has a timeless quality to it. Their music was haunting, exhilarating and even poignant. Ian's words revealed much about his struggle for control of his loves, life and fame too.

I wasn't expecting this movie to be so good. Most rock movie biographies never work. Anton Corbijn must have known this too. He had known Ian and the band from the beginning and had always wanted to create a film that would justify Joy Division's and Ian Curtis' place in musical history. With the help of Ian's wife they succeeded in my opinion in making one of the best films of this genre yet (with Sid & Nancy and The Doors not too far behind).

Whether you are a fan or not the directing is well done, the music is so real (all actors of the band in the film played their own instruments) to the originals and Sam Riley's portrayal of Ian Curtis deserves any and all accolades.

Worth it, see, dance, dance to the radio!

Official Control website.

Joy Division's first television appearance.

Anton Corbijn's web site.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post

    Much better than 24 Hour Party People, then... not to say that was a bad movie... just thought it could have been better...

    I was one of the musically ignorant who got into Joy Division through New Order... who I still kinda prefer, though I like the very early more Joy Division-ish New Order stuff the most, but yeah, Ian Curtis was an absolute pioneer.

    New Order was very good. But they became too mainstream (after Blue Monday). After I came back from college, broke up with my girlfriend, searched in vain for a real job while tackling a cocaine dependency (nothing serious looking downfall was drinking) I listened to a lot of Joy Division, New Order and The Fall for months on end. I don't know whether it lifted me out of that depression or I just got sick of it all and turned over a new leaf.

    Jeez, maybe I was the first case of Emo...

    Anyway, seeing this movie brought me closer to why Curtis' downward spiral was so apparent yet no one (or himself) was able to step in to help him. If anything it gives one reason to believe that if you reach out there will be an open hand. I got one.

    Novelty (1978)

    When the people listen to you, don't you know it means a lot

    'Cause you've got to work so hard for everything you've got

    Can't rest on your laurels now - not when you've got none

    You'll find yourself in the gutter, right back where you came from

    Someone told me being in the know is the main thing

    We all need the security that belonging brings

    Can't stand on your own in these times against all the odds

    I don't want to act uncool like all the other sods

    You slap our backs and pretend you knew

    About all the things that we were gonna do

    What ya gonna do, what ya gonna do when it's over?

    You're all on your own now - don't you think that it's a shame

    But you're the only one responsible to take the blame

    When ya gonna grow up and act, and be yourself

    Cause pretty soon you'll find yourself nailed to the shelf

    Grab it while you can, but don't ever relax

    Cause there's always someone gonna stab your back

    What ya gonna do, what ya gonna do when it's over?
  • Reply 2 of 5
    sammi josammi jo Posts: 4,634member
    Some friends of mine listen to that early 1980s "Manchester" sound regularly. The late Tony Wilson's Factory Records and their signature sound must have been a reflection of life in Northern England during the grim era of Thatcherism where communities were decimated en masse and up to 50% of the people in some towns were thrown out of work. Coupled with the often gloomy, raw, cold wet and windy weather of the region, its hardly surprising that the music of that region back then was so depressing and "lets-slit-our-wrists" like, with the bands dressed in all black, perpetual downward gazes during shows, sometimes even playing with their backs to the audience. I watched a friend's grainy video last year of "A Certain Ratio", from about 1980..... not quite the Beach Boys . The first time I got aware of that area of music was the New Order song "Blue Monday".. the sequencer + drum machine treatment was imaginative and set it apart from the traditional guitar-bass-drums approach. I can see how people identify with thos music, but I find much of it hard to relate to, coming from a different time and place. But.. give me the "oh-so-serious-looking" depressive sounding Factory Records artists, over the moronic pabulum spewing forth from the likes of Timberlake, Spears etc., any day.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Indeed. I don't want to spoil this movie, but one of the revelations about Ian Curtis was his epilepsy and the drugs he needed to control it. These medications had severe side effects (one being depression of course). This and the myriad of other problems (though not recreational drugs) may have led him to his demise.

    Speaking of popular music, what the fuck is with this Pete Doherty? He is (was) a talented individual, but here he goes again with his up and down addiction with heroin in the news again. I look at Ian Curtis and just cry, "What a waste!" If Doherty was doing this in America he'd be behind bars or worse.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Finally saw "Control". It was never released in Hong Kong, and it's not quite out on DVD, so yeah, I saw a "preview" version of it.

    I've got to say I was a little bit disappointed. I don't think the emotions were portrayed starkly enough, and I don't think the dreary industrial atmosphere of Manchester came through the way the Northern British atmosphere comes across in many other films. Everything was just too clean. I know that's Corbijn, aalways trying to get the best black and white image, but every brick was in place, every panel of glass was spotless, every table polished. Take for instace the scene where Ian and Annik were lying on the sofa while the three other band members were passed out in the room. Their sleeping bodies were arranged just SO perfectly, that it just looked odd.

    But I'm especially disappointed that I didn't feel Ian's depression with him. As someone who has gone through serious clinical depression, I just expected a bit more emotion.

    And i don't really believe the "official" line that all four band members were squeaky clean drug free, and drinking almost no alcohol.

    All in all I think I liked 24-Hour Party People more.
Sign In or Register to comment.