7.7/10
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Control (2007)

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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.

Director:

Anton Corbijn

Writers:

Deborah Curtis (book), Matt Greenhalgh (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 31 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Riley ... Ian Curtis
Samantha Morton ... Debbie Curtis
Alexandra Maria Lara ... Annik Honore
Joe Anderson ... Peter Hook aka Hooky
James Anthony Pearson ... Bernard Sumner
Harry Treadaway ... Steve Morris
Craig Parkinson ... Tony Wilson
Toby Kebbell ... Rob Gretton
Andrew Sheridan ... Terry
Robert Shelly Robert Shelly ... Twinny
Richard Bremmer ... Mr. Curtis - Ian's Father
Tanya Myers Tanya Myers ... Ian's Mother
Martha Myers Lowe Martha Myers Lowe ... Ian's Sister (as Martha Myers-Lowe)
Matthew McNulty ... Nick
David Whittington David Whittington ... Chemistry Teacher
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Australia | Japan | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 September 2007 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Контроль See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£252,426 (United Kingdom), 7 October 2007, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,674, 14 October 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$871,577, 27 January 2008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,824,260
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The poem being recited before their first gig is "Evidently Chicken Town" by John Cooper Clarke. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Ian Curtis: I don't want to be in the band anymore. Unknown Pleasures was it. I was happy. I never meant for it to grow like this. When I'm up there, singing they don't understand how much I give and how it affects me. Now they want more. They expect me to give more. And I don't know if I can. It's like it's not happening to me, but... someone pretending to be me, someone dressed in my skin. Now we're going to America. I have no control anymore. I don't know what to do.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Isolation
(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

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User Reviews

 
Walk in silence, don't walk away in silence.
15 March 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

For me personally writing a comment for Control has proved to be a very difficult thing, my love of the band Joy Division has stayed with me from the very first moment I listened to the Unknown Pleasures album back in 1979. I remember Ian Curtis's death like it was yesterday, and no matter how many years roll by, I still feel an immense sadness when listening to the bands poetic beauty. I was mightily relieved after reading Deborah Curtis's book Touching From A Distance, for I found it refreshingly honest, and certainly it helped people get in a bit deeper to just what a troubled young man Ian Curtis was. So here we are in 2008 and the film adaptation of that book has arrived with truly brilliant results.

I have found it hard to write a comment for it because I have to cast aside my biased love of the band, but hopefully I've managed to view it objectively with both my head and my heart. Control is a film about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the band Joy Division, people expecting an in-depth film about the band will be a little disappointed because this is the story of their lead singer, a troubled young man who just couldn't face it anymore. Filmed in black & white to perfectly capture the essence of the man the film is about, director Anton Corbijn has stayed loyal to the source material and crafted a haunting piece of work that lingers long after the final credits roll.

We follow Ian Curtis from his humble music leanings in the early 70s, here he meets Deborah who is soon to become his wife, a married man at the age of 18. We watch him join a group of Manchester lads at a Sex Pistols concert, it is here that the roots of Joy Division are formed. Then it's on to the formation of Factory records and the influential Svengali Tony Wilson. As the band start to make waves Ian Curtis becomes ill with epilepsy, and it's here that Corbijn crucially shows that the doctors involved really didn't have a clue how to treat him properly, trial and error with cocktails of drugs indeed.

Deborah and Ian become parents to Natalie, but Ian is away on the road for many days and nights, and it's here that he yearns for love from another quarter, and it's here that his infidelity will hang heavy on his already sunken shoulders. The band are set to make it big, their manager announces that they are about to tour America for the first time, this only adds another fraught string to Ian's already fractured bow, the pressure of fame a lethal bedfellow with Messrs epilepsy and infidelity, and then? I can't praise the work on this film enough, Sam Riley {relatively unknown outside of his hometown of Leeds} is simply brilliant as Curtis, dragging the viewer in completely on this desperately sad journey. Samantha Morton as Deborah is immense, she nails the emotional see-saw role with professional aplomb, and I would also like to raise a glass for the performance of the criminally undervalued Toby Kebbell (Dead Man's Shoes, Wilderness) his turn as Joy Division's manager Rob Gretton is down pat. Director Corbijn clearly had love for the project, and thankfully he was sensible enough to not over do the sentimental aspect of the troubled star. What Corbijn has done is perfectly frame the bleaker side of the story with old terraced houses and monstrous looking high rise's, they scream out as dank and dreary statements in black & white, yet they are overlooked by rolling hills to serve as a reminder when Curtis was at his happiest during the courtship with Deborah. Some scenes are unforgettable, such is the power of the emotion on offer, look out for the stunning appearance of heart tugging song Love Will Tear Us Apart, a crucial and poignant scene, and of course the film's tragic outcome hits like a sledgehammer. To which I thank Corbijn for giving us a very tasteful conclusion to this sad sad story.

So there it is, was I biased? I like to think I wasn't because I honestly feel that one doesn't have to be a fan of the band to get much from this movie. The film has won many awards, and I'm happy to report that Control has brought renewed interest in the beautiful/haunting work of one of England's greatest ever bands. Remastered CDs, reissued books, and even T-shirts are selling well in the shops as I type.

Control is a very sobering experience for fans and newcomers alike. 10/10

RIP Ian Curtis, you are very much missed.


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