Control: it’s not ‘The Commitments II"

It’s probably the best film I’ve seen so far this year with excellent performances by Sam Riley, Sam Morton and pretty much all the cast. I wasn’t expecting a huge amount from the film as I’m always suspicious about most films made of true stories, particularly music biopics, but this was the honourable exception and succeeds in making the telling of Ian Curtis’s short life hugely resonant and deeply touching. Yol said she found the look of the film too dour and oppressive. I pointed out that she’d spent the years in question in London and that Birmingham at least pretty much looked and felt like that. Other good things include the cinemascope, the understated camerawork (it would have been easy to mimic director Anton Cobijn‘s photographic style that was such a defining part of the look of the early ‘eighties NME), the quality of the music (the original plan had been for the band to mime but they actually play while Riley sings and it’s wholly convincing), John Cooper Clarke now playing himself 28 years ago, and my favourite bit – Joy Division’s manager Rob Gretton (Toby Kebell) offering Crispy Ambulance’s singer twenty quid to go on stage to sing vocals to a hostile crowd after a depressed Curtis has been unable to go on.

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