This is one of those movies that comes out of no where and smacks you in the face with how good it is. Control, by first time feature director Anton Corbijn (veteran of many music videos), knocks the rise and fall of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. The movie starts with Curtis finding his calling for music along with his high school sweet heart and follows him along his rise to a star of Britain rock scene. I think this movie is best enjoyed with knowing as little about his life as possible, I knew nothing but the obvious about him, so I won’t divulge into details here. But if you know nothing about Joy Division or their music do not shy away from this movie. If you enjoyed Walk the Line or Ray this movie is in a similar vain, as a straight forward biopic, and is definitely the best of the three; and that is saying something! The movie just moves along at a terrific pace, the look of the movie is just beautiful with some fantastic shots caught in black and white (and sepia). The music is performed by the cast members and sounds great and the energy of the band oozes through screen carried by their front man, Sam Riley.
Where did this guy come from? Riley is amazing in this movie. He just carries himself so well and we can buy into his pain and struggles as Riley allows us to see into Curtis’s mind through his eyes and face. Curtis’s troubles and success are the focus of this movie along with his relationship with his wife, Deborah, played by the great Samantha Morton.
First off, I want to commend the movie makers for doing a fantastic job selling Morton and Riley both as teenagers, I was never really pulled out of the movie by the age difference, they looked the part. But Morton does some great work her, as usual, as she has to deal with the coming and going of her husband and the worries she has about him and his life on the road.
I can’t really go into much more without spoiling anything, but just be sure to know that Morton and especially Riley make some great turns as stars of the movie.
The supporting cast is also just as solid, with special mention for Joe Anderson who is better here, and is great, than is role in Across the Universe. There is nobody else in this movie that is really recognizable but that doesn’t mean there isn’t great work across the board.
I can’t say enough for this movie, it is just fantastic and if it wasn’t for a bit meandering in the last 10-15 min, I would have nothing to complain about. Discover this movie, discover Sam Riley, and discover Joy Division (maybe again if you already have) in this great piece of cinema.