Anton Corbijn

BY Cam LindsayPublished Oct 25, 2007

Control is an immaculately envisioned piece of filmmaking by original Joy Division photographer and renowned music video director Anton Corbijn. Based on the memoirs of Curtis’s wife Deborah, it’s an extremely personal project for the filmmaker, who chose to shoot a straight, unbiased film to document Curtis’s 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 band’s rise in England’s music scene and the discovery of Curtis’s epilepsy, it’s a telling narrative that’s given added significance by Corbijn’s 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, he’s 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 Curtis’s 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 film’s morality.

Music fans will find Control wholly authentic; Matt Greenhalgh’s script includes such minute details as a cameo performance by punk poet John Cooper Clarke and a re-enactment of the tragic inspiration for "She’s 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)

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