Posted by: kfugrip | November 7, 2007

One hundred six: Control

You, fair reader, don’t know this but I’m really behind on my posting.  I’ve watched a number of films and I need to get them out because the more they pile up the more difficult it becomes to write.

Control, directed by Anton Corbijn, is the story of Ian CurtisIan Curtis was the lead singer of the band Joy Division.  I watched a documentary this year about the band and I love their music, so it was a natural for me to see the film.  I caught it at Film Forum which is a great theater and anyone in New York should check out some of the films playing there.

For the uninitiated, Ian Curtis was 23 years old, suffering from more frequent and violent epileptic seziures, in love with two women and on the verge of a North American tour when he hung himself.    The film Control is about a bit of his youth prior to his adventures as the lead of a revolutionary band, Joy Division.  Curtis married young and fell in love with a Belgian woman while on the road with his band.

What I liked: The film is a beautifully photographed piece.  The black and white film was an excellent choice given the flavor of the band Joy Division and is symbolic of the gray area that Curtis inhabited when he was having an affair on his wife.  The film was based on the book that Curtis’ wife wrote about him, Touching from a Distance, though it doesn’t demonize Curtis affair like 0ne would expect.  Sam Riley (as Ian Curtis) and Samantha Morton (Deborah Curtis) are fantastic in this film, but will get no mention during award season because of the relative obscurity of the film and the bias against biopics.

What I didn’t like: Anton Corbijn is the former photographer and music video director of such famous work as U2’s Joshua Tree cover and the Heart-Shaped Box video.   He does a workman-like job here but I think that dramatically the film could have been stronger.  Because of this the last half of the film drags and we don’t, as an audience, feel the relationships.  One late night conversation doesn’t equate a love affair, and neither do a series of doe-eyed glances.  The subject matter performances, and photography carry the film, which has much to do with Corbijn, but he is the only element that keeps this from being a classic of the genre.

4 stars



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