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Control (2007)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  5 October 2007 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 49,207 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 141 user | 181 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

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 <k_luifje7@hotmail.com>

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?


When Joy Division are about to make their first television appearance they are warned by Tony Wilson that he will cut them off if they swear at any point. He also tells them to trust him as he knows when you can and can't swear on TV. This is probably a nod to years later, when in real life Tony Wilson was suspended from his job at Granada for swearing into a microphone that he didn't realize was on. 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: So this is permanence; love-shattered pride. What once was innocence, has turned on its side.
See more »


References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »


(Ian Curtis / Peter Hook / Stephen Morris / Bernard Sumner)
Published by Zomba Music Publishers Limited
Performed by Joe Anderson (as Anderson), James Anthony Pearson (as Pearson),
Sam Riley (as Riley), Harry Treadaway (as Treadaway)
Courtesy of Northsee Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A strangely ordinary man
19 October 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

About a third of the way through watching Control, it occurred to me: if this film were about somebody who wasn't famous, it would be absolutely dull. As depicted in this film, Ian Curtis was a very uninteresting person. Besides being the lead singer of Joy Division (and I will take nothing away from the music) he did nothing extraordinary with his life. Nor was he an extraordinary person. He displayed no feats of courage, no wit, he didn't stand for anything, was indecisive, lacking in charm, passionless, an atrocious father, rarely smiled, and possessed no ambition. I can see why he killed himself.

So the question remains: why are we watching this film?

I have the feeling that there was a lot more to Ian Curtis than nice cheekbones, intense stage presence and epilepsy. And if not, then a point should be made of that. Is this the story of the shy kid who wanted to be David Bowie but then couldn't handle the fame? Was it just the pills that sent him spiraling? Is it a comment on just how normal he actually was? This film has no angle. The acting is excellent. The black and white photography is lovely. The sound design is superb. But all these components are masking the fact that this is simply an astonishingly banal script. There were scenes and dialogue that left me scratching my head, thinking why did we have that? It feels like a first draft. There is no drama in most scenes - for example, the exchanges Ian and Anook are incredibly lifeless.

In spite of all this, the film is utterly convincing. It's just also utterly uninspired. I think I will read a Curtis biography now and find out what really made him tick.

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