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Kristin Scott Thomas,
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
So this is permanence; love-shattered pride. What once was innocence, has turned on its side.
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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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