The Null Device

Control

Tonight I saw Control, Anton Corbijn's Ian Curtis biopic.

It was quite well done, I thought. As you'd expect from Corbijn, it had its starkly atmospheric shots (entirely in black and white), echoing some of the famous photos he took of Joy Division. The aesthetic of the film was quite sparse, with long shots of rooms and council estates, much said with no words but only expressions, and an equally sparse soundtrack, with the most sparing use of incidental music. (Parts of it had a German expressionist quality; it could have almost been a Fritz Lang film from the 1930s.)

The danger with this film was that it could have easily been just another exercise in style over substance, in capturing the legend of a mythical band in a time-capsule of stylised cool. However, thankfully, it wasn't; it seemed reasonably faithful (albeit from Deborah Curtis' point of view, leavened with an imagined view from Ian's perspective). Watching it, I got the feeling of Ian's predicament, the trap he was drawing into, the terrible forces tearing him (and those around him) apart. He wasn't some darkly romantic, tortured hero, just a lad from Macclesfield ill-equipped for what fate threw at him. And the film really carried across how young and unprepared he was.

The music was pretty good too; the actors playing Joy Division played all the music on stage, and did a bang-up job of it, pulling off intense performances. (I can imagine that the actual gigs would have been just like that.)

Having said that, the Killers' cover of Shadowplay in the closing credits was entirely unnecessary. Who signed off on that one?

There are 1 comments on "Control":

Posted by: threeze Mon Oct 15 00:57:19 2007

I'm guessing since The Killers are kinda-big right now, they called in favours to be on the soundtrack (I get the feeling they owe Joy Division and New Order their livelihoods).

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