Published Oct 25, 2007Control is an immaculately envisioned piece of filmmaking by original Joy Division photographer and renowned music video director Anton Corbijn. Based on the memoirs of Curtiss wife Deborah, its an extremely personal project for the filmmaker, who chose to shoot a straight, unbiased film to document Curtiss wild emotional breakdown. From his days working in the council job placement agency and forming the band with Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris after a Sex Pistols gig to the bands rise in Englands music scene and the discovery of Curtiss epilepsy, its a telling narrative thats given added significance by Corbijns insistence on shooting in high-contrast black and white.
Newcomer Sam Riley (of former indie band 10,000 Things) is Curtis incarnate from the haircut right down to the jerky signature dance, hes frighteningly perfect as Ian, even singing with his real voice. Indie vet Samantha Morton and Alexandra Maria Lara play the women in his life with the utmost precision. The former is Deborah, his forlorn wife left to care for their daughter Natalie, and the latter is Belgian mistress Annik Honoré, whose aloof cool helped propel Curtiss heart-breaking whirlwind. His quandary feels almost justified though, as Riley portrays a love-torn romantic instead of a brooding sulk, and Corbijn refuses to take sides, leaving the viewer to decide on the films morality.
Music fans will find Control wholly authentic; Matt Greenhalghs script includes such minute details as a cameo performance by punk poet John Cooper Clarke and a re-enactment of the tragic inspiration for "Shes Lost Control. And yet Control has enough emotive weight behind it to deeply affect any filmgoer, be it an obsessive goth or an unacquainted newcomer. (Alliance Atlantis)