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Joy Division is a band I have always ignored.  Not intentionally, simply because I was never exposed to their music and never took the time to seek it out.  I knew them as the band whose singer killed himself just as they were beginning to reach the height of their popularity.  The story of the singer, Ian Curtis, and the bands short lived career has recently been brought to the screen in two incarnations: a documentary called Joy Division and a biographical film called Control.  I’ve yet to see the documentary, Control I have seen. 


I’m usually not really a fan of music bio films.  Take Walk the Line as a recent example.  Everybody seems to love this one, but to me it fell flat simply because it tried to pack too much time into a small package and things happened so fast that I found myself unable to really connect with any of the characters at any given time.  Walk Hard was much better, and a hell of a lot funnier.  That is a typical feeling I’m left with, although those films do usually have terrific acting performances.


Control is an exception.  I mark this one along with The Doors, Almost Famous (not a real band, but come on…this movie fucking rules), and The Man Who Fell to Earth (David Bowie plays an alien masquerading as a human.  You trying to tell me this isn’t based on fact?) as music biopic films that get it right, that show the humanity and charisma of the character while also showing that he is a flawed human being that makes really fucked up mistakes and decisions. 


Sam Riley, an actor I’ve never heard of, plays Curtis.  Samantha Morton plays his wife, and plays her brilliantly.  This is a woman who, while her husband is off on tour constantly, stays at home with their kids (whom he’s barely met) constantly remaining hopeful that someday he’s going to come stay home.  She is also under the impression that he’s someday going to stop seeing his girlfriend, Annik (Alexandra Maria Lara.)  You could say she’s naive, but played by Morton she comes across as undeniably strong and able woman.  You know that the reason she does what she does is because she loves Ian so deeply that she will not discontinue supporting him in spite of his fuck-ups and betrayals, simply because she is the kind of woman who doesn’t turn her back on difficult situations and will stand by someone if she truly believes in him/her. 

I don’t want to give away anything more (it’s a biopic, people, what can I really ‘give away?:)   This is a damn fine film and I encourage you to watch it.  If you’re like me, you will discover a great film and a great band all at the same time. 

I want to make an honorable mention of a unique animated film called Persepolis, as well.   


I watched a pretty big chunk of this movie and fell asleep, three different times.  I don’t have anything negative to say about it, though.  The animaton style is refreshing while being very old fashioned and the storyline is pretty fresh as well.  It tells the story of a young girl in, I believe, Israel during a political uprising.  I’m personally not really interested in the story being told, so it couldn’t hold my attention.  I do think it should be seen though. 

Thanks, Steve

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