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Worth multiple viewings and a little homework
24 June 2003
I get the general sense from reading some of the reviews that people didn't like this movie because it didn't provide any instant gratification or personal meaning. That's probably true for people who don't know Joy Division, New Order, or the Happy Mondays, but I think it's totally unfair to discredit this film on a basis of a lack of prior knowledge. Many great films and novels aren't great because you get them on the first try, and I think that this movie follows the same path. If you didn't like it the first time, take a look at an old Tony Wilson interview or a concert tape of Joy Division and you will instantly see the quality production and acting that went into this film. Ian Curtis/Joy Division are portrayed with an eerily haunting accuracy (down to the instruments they play, which are rumoured to be the originals from the late 1970s) and you can tell that the cast really did their homework. The concert scenes are spectacularly energetic, the sets (especially the Hacienda) are ripped right out of the time period. Comic relief isn't overlooked, as the dry humour of Steve Coogan and the rest of the cast is pursued to the dime. The unscripted dialogue is also quite good, which is another indication of the actors' homework. This movie is worth the time: it details a very important time and place in pop music history that is often overlooked in the wake of much larger, more commercialized scenes. Rave and post-punk may be fading today, but one need only take a look at the charts to see its influence. Go out and get this movie, learn a little about it, and you will be impressed.
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