Last night Des Rusk held a special screening of Control, the biopic of Ian Curtis – Joy Division’s ill fated lead singer. Born in 1956, he married his girlfriend at 19, formed Joy Division at 20, had a baby by 22 and killed himself at 23. The film tells the story of his journey from angst ridden teenager to forced adulthood, unable to cope with the combined stresses of fame, young marriage and a baby, and a crippling disability, all of which ultimately led to his self loathing and suicide.
The film’s plot is certainly a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, but it’s the twin performances of Sam Riley as Curtis, and Samantha Morton as his wife Debbie that catapult the film from just sad to gut wrenchingly rip your heart out and jump all over it wretched. Riley, a relatively new comer to acting plays the role with mastery and subtlety in such a way that the audience is always able to identify with him even at his most cruel moments. He is definitely one to watch. And Morton alongside him as the innocent and hurt Debbie is the queen of playing the downtrodden underdog and this film is no exception.
The film’s cinematography is a feat in itself, every shot of Curtis reminiscent of Hedi Slimane’s shoots with Pete Doherty, the camera gently capturing a neck with sweat drenched hair stuck to it, or intensifying a moment you think can’t get anymore powerful as Curtis loses control on stage. And the clothes. Curtis’s wardrobe was almost it’s own character. Long dark trench coats, tucked in long sleeve shirts with epaulettes and sleeves rolled up past his elbows, and pleated pants rounded off the most impressive character in the most impressive biopic of its kind that I have ever seen. I’ve lost control.