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.
From myth to legend Rowland Howard appeared on the early Melbourne punk scene like a phantom out of Kafkaesque Prague or Bram Stoker's Dracula. A beautifully gaunt and gothic aristocrat, ... See full summary »
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One of my five favorites films in 2007 was Control, Anton Corbijn's beautifully bleak black and white biopic of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. Aside from the music, what I loved about the film was its kitchen sink realism and incredible attention to detail. Following the trend, last night I watched Grant Gee's documentary Joy Division about -you guessed it- Joy Division. As much as I enjoyed Gee's documentary (which I did), it only made me appreciate Control all the more. Corbijn, who participates in the doc, was amongst a handful of photographers who glimpsed, first hand, the ascension of Joy Division. While watching Gee's film it proved Corbijn spared no effort to make Control as factual and accurate as possible. The two films make great companion pieces, not just because JD fills in a few of Control's narrative gaps, but mostly because it introduces us to the real faces behind the story told in Control.
I feel like I'm slighting Gee by talking more about Control than his documentary, but the truth is, I can't say enough good things about Control...I sincerely believe it is one of the best music biopics I've ever watched. Simply put, there's little wrong with Control, and the casting alone is worthy of great praise -- not only are the actors in Control dead ringers for their real life counterparts, they're great actors.
Considering this is a review of Gee's doc, I suppose I should make an effort to discuss it. In short, JD doesn't break any new ground, nor does it provide Joy Division enthusiasts with any new revelations or insights. The greatest strength of the doc is how Gee emulates the same stylistic aesthetic associated with the band, their music, their album art and the movement they spawned. JD is a great looking documentary, visually compelling from beginning to end and its chock full of vintage, low-fi concert footage pulled out from the vaults. If you're a Joy Division fan you'll enjoy this documentary as much as I did, if not, you might enjoy it but it certainly won't change your life.
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