Control (2007) - Plot Summary Poster



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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.

  • 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.

  • In 1973, Ian Curtis is 17, in school in Macclesfield, near Mancester, introverted. He listens to David Bowie and recites poetry. He meets Debbie and he joins two mates putting together a band. He's their singer and songwriter. We watch their early performances, they get a manager and time on local radio, then sign with a label. They get a following. Ian presses Debbie into marriage. He works days at an employment office. He discovers he has epilepsy. He wants a child; then, he and Debbie drift, he's moody and often away. He meets another women. The band books a U.S. tour. The medication isn't working. Ian's conflicted about Debbie. He's lost control. Does he have any options?


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Control is the biography of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, taking his story from schoolboy days of 1973 to his suicide on the eve of the band's first American tour in 1980.

    In this time we see Curtis grow from David Bowie-infatuated teen to Sex Pistols-inspired punk, and eventually to rising new wave star.

    The movie explores the pressures he felt, from his epilepsy, a failing marriage, his new lover, and a band that relied on him - all in an attempt to explain his decision to hang himself at the age of 23.

    The movie is based on Deborah Curtis's biography "Touching from a Distance" .

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