A teenage orphan fights against the Red Army at the end of WWII and in the aftermath is 'adopted' by a Commissar. Years later he is sent to London during the Cold war to work for the KGB, where he questions his life.
On April 2nd 2011, LCD Soundsystem played its final show at Madison Square Garden. Documenting this once in a life time performance and an intimate portrait of James Murphy as he navigates the lead-up to the show, the day after, and the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.
In the shadowplay acting out your own death knowing no more.
Joy Division, the mercurial Manchester based masters of dark post punk sounds, who in Ian Curtis had one of the eras most tortured souls.
Directed by Grant Gee and written by Jon Savage, this documentary actually brings nothing new to the table for hardened fans of the band, of which I am unashamedly amongst that number. There is a tendency with musical documentaries to be over praised by fans simply because, well, they just love to see their idols/heroes/inspirations up there on the screen. Grant Gee's film has strong merits as an introduction for those new to the band, for the curious and to those hypnotised by tunes so hauntingly poetic they can reduce you to tears, but again for those who have followed Joy Division and their subsequent brotherhood band, New Order, there is nothing to be learned here.
The absence of Deborah Curtis (Ian's widow) from the doc is annoying, where we are only given printed quotes from her. One can only guess that she refused to be sharing screen space with her love rival, and fellow tormentor of Ian Curtis' psyche, Annik Honoré, the latter of which who is more than happy to fuel the documentary fire. At times this feels like a copy of Anton Corbijn's superb film, Control, only with the real life band members and entourage commenting from the edges of the frame. But then there is of course the live excerpts of the band, which lifts this up to the high levels set by Control and Deborah Curtis' excellent book, Touching from a Distance.
In that, there is the crux, Joy Division the film is essential for fans, to see that performance of Shadowplay and etc etc, it's these moments that make us forgive the narrative, which quite frankly, is a bit of a cash cow cash in. And I really do say that with heavy heart. 8/10
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