It's 1979 and the Manchester post punk band Joy Division are poised to strike it big in the US. The group's success can be largely be attributed to the intense stage presence of vocalist Ian Curtis, however his personal troubles place its future in jeopardy.

3
Melodramatic biopic redeemed by soundtrack,

In 1980, Ian Curtis lead singer of rock band Joy Division committed suicide at the ripe old age of 23. The cult status built up around this young Manchurian musician is astounding. Control is a biopic detailing Curtis’s life from his late teens to his final moments.

The outstanding performances, together with Joy Division’s timeless music make Control a compelling watch.



Curtis married young, had a child and found success with his band Joy Division. But then he began an affair with a young Belgium girl. His guilt, along with his epilepsy, are explored as possible reasons for his sudden death.

Sam Riley is engaging and believable as Curtis. He captures to great effect the singer’s soulfulness and confusion. His on stage performances were beautifully realised.

Only a few of the more dramatic scenes, particularly against the great Samantha Morton, could have been stronger.

Having never directed a feature before, world-renowned photographer and music clip director Anton Corbijn at first turned down the chance to direct Control. However, having shot the band just before Curtis’s death, Corbijn felt the connection he had with the subject matter was too strong to ignore.

He chose to shoot in black and white, successfully giving the film a dark and moody feel, that mirrored Curtis’s inner world.

My problem with Control lies with the story. I felt it was too simplistic at times and I wanted to know more about the music and how it came about.

Unfortunately the affair and all that came with it, felt somewhat melodramatic. I am sure ardent Joy Division fans will feel completely different. For me it just felt indulgent.

The outstanding performances, together with Joy Division’s timeless music make Control a compelling watch"¦ 3 stars.