A friend pointed out that Control, the Ian Curtis biopic, was still on at the Curzon this week. So we went to see it on Thursday, and I’m very glad that I went. It’s a beautiful looking film, shot in black and white by Anton Corbijn, based on Deborah Curtis' biography of her husband – Touching From A Distance. The music is excellent. I thought that the actors were miming to Joy Division songs but, it turns out, they played their own instruments for the live scenes. They really do sound like Joy Division. I love Unknown Pleasures, so it was great to hear Disorder and She’s Lost Control.
The story isn't 100% true to life, which might annoy the more pedantic Joy Division fans. Stephen Morris wasn’t actually the drummer for Warsaw when Ian joined the band, and their first TV performance wasn’t Transmission. These are minor niggles. The main story of Ian and Deborah's marriage is well told, although his manic depression is glossed over. If you’ve seen 24 hour Party People, you might remember a pissed-up Joy Division doing a drunk version of Louie Louie at a Factory party. Then there’s the story of Ian ending an argument with Rob Gretton by sticking a bin on his own head and screaming. Neither of those aspects of him come across in Control, unfortunately. Incidentally, the bloke who plays Gretton does a great job. It's worth watching the film just for him.
That said, I thought it was a moving film. I used to think Ian Curtis was a self-absorbed, cheating twat, to be honest, but perhaps I was too hasty. A very troubled bloke, desperately in need of help but who isolated himself from the very people who could help him. Probably my favourite film of 2007. Definitely one to see, even if you aren’t a Joy Division fan yourself.
“He didn't commit suicide because he had marital problems. He had marital problems because he wanted to commit suicide.”