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Control (2007)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  5 October 2007 (UK)
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A profile of Ian Curtis, the enigmatic singer of Joy Division whose personal, professional, and romantic troubles led him to commit suicide at the age of 23.



(book), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 30 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Debbie Curtis
Annik Honore
Craig Parkinson ...
Andrew Sheridan ...
Robert Shelly ...
Mr. Curtis - Ian's Father
Tanya Myers ...
Ian's Mother
Martha Myers Lowe ...
Ian's Sister (as Martha Myers-Lowe)
David Whittington ...
Chemistry Teacher


Ian Curtis is a quiet and rather sad lad who works for an employment agency and sings in a band called Warsaw. He meets a girl named Debbie whom he promptly marries and his band, of which the name in the meantime has been changed to Joy Division, gets more and more successful. Even though Debbie and he become parents, their relationship is going downhill rapidly and Ian starts an affair with Belgium Annik whom he met after one of the gigs and he's almost never at home. Ian also suffers from epilepsy and has no-good medication for it. He doesn't know how to handle the feelings he has for Debbie and Annik and the pressure the popularity of Joy Division and the energy performing costs him. Written by Marco van Hoof <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |


Release Date:

5 October 2007 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Controle - A História de Ian Curtis  »

Box Office


€4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£252,426 (UK) (5 October 2007)


$871,577 (USA) (25 January 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sam Riley (who plays Ian Curtis) and Alexandra Maria Lara (who played his lover Annik Honore) married in August 2008 and now live in Berlin See more »


Joy Division is shown performing "Transmission" on Tony Wilson's television show in September 1978, but in reality, they performed "Shadowplay". The performance that is represented in this scene actually took place a year later in September 1979 on the BBC2 program "Something Else", when they performed "Transmission" (a performance which was used as the music video for the song) and "She's Lost Control". See more »


Ian Curtis: [handing Tony Wilson a piece of paper] Joy Division, you cunt!
See more »


Features Stroszek (1977) See more »


(Ralf Hütter (as Ralf Huetter) / Florian Schneider-Esleben (as Florian Schneider) / Emil Schult)
Published by © Kling Klang Musik GmbH c/o Sony/ATV Music Publishing (Germany) GmbH
Performed by Kraftwerk
Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

stunning piece of work.......
9 October 2007 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Anton Corbin has created a film that perfectly showcases both the music of Joy Division and the short but fruitful life of Ian Curtis. The choice to film in black and white was the right one. It sets the tone perfectly for Ian Curtis' gray and lifeless hometown of Macclesfield in 1973.

Corbin as a first time director excels utilizing his visual and technical skills from his previous life as a music video director. Thankfully Control is not just a beautiful looking movie but a perfectly pitched study of the rise and tragic fall of the tortured Ian Curtis. The intensity of the live music performances in the film are as visceral as those of the real band. It is a credit to the actors that they played everything live on screen, it serves to create memorable performances.

Sam Riley delivers a towering performance as Curtis. The first time actor is a name to watch. He is surrounded by a great cast but the film is carried on Riley's shoulders.His inner turmoil is conveyed with great humanity and realism. The audience was still and quiet for quite some time after the credits rolled at the screening I attended.

There are some very clever and touching uses of the music in the film. Corbin uses the intensity of Curtis' lyrics to help paint a biographical picture of the man. The use of 'Love will tear us apart' in the movie was particularly inspired giving the context of the scene it was played in. I hope you will go see this powerful and moving film to see what I am talking about.

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