Monday, March 16, 2009
Movie Monday: Control
Hi, and welcome to a new feature here at PowerPop: Movie Monday. I'm going to try and post every Monday on a different music movie and hopefully we can chat about it some.
This week, I'd like to start with a movie Thers and I watched a few weeks ago which has been, for lack of a better phrase, haunting me. It's a British indie film from 2007 called Control, which tells the story of the tragically brief life of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, who committed suicide at 23 in 1980.
The film features Sam Riley, a musician himself, who strikes many perfect notes as this troubled young man. Riley is almost as beautiful and intense-looking as Curtis was, if more classically handsome. (Riley was a model for Burberry.) But it's in his performance, haunted and haunting, that he really shines. Curtis's vision, his rise, his illness, his infidelity, even his death, are presented so sympathetically--though not romantically--that they make perfect, if depressing, sense. The film is based primarily on Deborah Curtis's book Touching From a Distance, a filter worth remembering.
The film obviously covers a lot of the same ground as 2002's 24-Hour Party People, in which Riley was also supposed to appear (as The Fall's Mark E. Smith), but was left on the cutting-room floor. Wilson seems much more obviously calculating here, the bands much more his puppets, though I guess that's no surprise. Still, it recreates that same 1976 Sex Pistols Manchester show where so much of what would become Madchester germinated. And Joe Anderson, the crazy brother from Across the Universe, is Peter Hook, so there's that.
It's a good film, even though you already know how it ends. Highly recommended, but expect to think about it a lot afterward.