Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Control (Anton Corbijn, 2007)

***
UK/USA

As far as biopics of troubled musicians go, this one, detailing the personal more than the creative life of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, is a watchable one, though it's deeply flawed. Director Anton Corbijn and writer Matt Greenhalgh - predictably - want to present Curtis (played by Sam Riley) as a misunderstood genius, yet they give him the dialogue of an angsty teenager. And, with his emotional range limited between skinny brooding hipster and skinny misty-eyed hipster, Riley doesn't contribute any further layers. Within this context, even his lyrics sound whiny. You're bound to feel sympathy for a man driven to suicide at the age of 23 by epilepsy and mistakes he made as a teen, but you can do that from reading a newspaper article. The Ian Curtis who mopes and hazes his way through Corbijn's film doesn't warrant feature length nor Samantha Morton as his wife (doing her best with a dog of a role).
It has to be noted though that while Corbijn fails to grasp the complexity of Curtis' character, he does capture the beauty and impact of his music.

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