Tuesday, April 14, 2009

seen-it: Control

Being a child of the Madchester music scene, viewing Control seemed almost essential. Never did 'get into' Joy Division, but New Order were my introduction to all things Madchester, so the legends & legacy of all things Joy Division/Ian Curtis/Factory Records always have some fascination for me.

Dead rockstars instantly get Legendary status. Ian Curtis is one of them but I actually knew very little about him. Two hours of "Control" and you still don't really feel you know him particularly any better, except to say that he seemed incredibly self-centred & immature. Maybe we don't know him better because if the portrayal is accurate he was incredibly withdrawn and insular. He was obviously a 'tortured soul' but if the film is at all an accurate reflection then he doesn't really illicit much sympathy. Most of the torture is self-inflicted. The only thing in his defense was that he was incredibly young with some of the additional pressures of fame - so no surprise that he was a bit stupid & selfish. Real sympathy must go to his wife and fellow band mates. Though the credits reveal that the film is based on the memoirs of his widow so maybe a little jaundiced.

The film itself is over-long ... lots of long, arty scenes of Ian smoking! Lots of swearing which maybe accurate [... though reading a review by his daughter reveals that at least one fo the characters never swears so profusely in real life!] but still grates. But the outstanding thing has got to be the performances of the band characters - seem to have got all the mannerisms & nuances down to a tee. And the music itself is a treat.

Sad to discover that Tony Wilson died just days after the film was completed. What an interesting character Tony was!

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