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 31 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Debbie Curtis
Annik Honore
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:




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Release Date:

26 September 2007 (France)  »

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

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The introduction that Tony Wilson gives the band as they're about to perform on Granada television is almost word for word taken from the actual broadcast. The song they play in the film is "Transmission", when in actuality they performed "Shadowplay" on Granada. They did perform "Transmission" live on TV but it was on the BBC without an introduction by Wilson, but instead a toned-down version of the poem used to introduce them at a gig in the film. See more »


In Ian's bathroom medicine cabinet is a bottle of Tigabine an anti-epileptic not available till the 1990's. See more »


Bernard Sumner: I believe in pure... sex.
See more »


Featured in Anton Corbijn Inside Out (2012) See more »


(Howard Devoto / Pete Shelley (as Peter Shelley))
Published by Mute Song Limited and Complete Music Limited
Performed by The Buzzcocks
© 1977 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd
Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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