I’m going to be humming “Love Will Tear Us Apart” for a week.
This is truly one of the best “about a singer” films I’ve ever seen. It was so good it’s hard to pick a place to in start with the praise. I guess the obvious place, at least based on my post-film conversations, would be with the incredible cinematography. The director, noted still photographer Anton Corbijn, and cinematographer Martin Ruhe combined to create a film of real beauty. Shot in black and white, Control is the perfect visual counterpart to both the music of Joy Division and the tragic, powerful life of it’s lead singer Ian Curtis.
The performances are also noteworthy. The cast on the whole is very good and Sam Riley is superb as Curtis. He really captures the breadth of Curtis’ complicated emotional life. His ability to ape Curtis’ awkward stage presence really brings home the turmoil present in the very act of performing for the troubled Curtis. Samantha Morton is also excellent as Deborah Curtis. Curtis really dumped on his wife and Morton really brings an emotional truth to her role which helps forge a real connection to the simple human tragedy of the story.
All in all this is an excellent film. Definitely worth checking out especially for anyone with even a passing interest in the band (which should really qualify a lot of people since Joy Division is wildly influential.)
While we’re here, check out the real deal: