About The Cold Cut...

The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

About Me

A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

Control: Review

"Existence well what does it matter?
I exist on the best terms I can.
The past is now part of my future,
The present is well out of hand."
Joy Division- Heart And Soul- Opening Quote To 'Control'

A few weeks ago I went to see Control, a brilliant film which thus far I haven't felt capable of talking about. Why, you might be wondering? Sometimes in life you have to take a longer look at things before opening your mouth and making rash statements: I feel I've now had enough time to mull this one over. Control, Anton Corbijn's debut film, has been highly recommended in manyy film magazines and has already won a host of awards... needless to say, I was not disappointed: For the uninitiated, Control is a biopic of Ian Curtis (1956-80), front man of post-punk band Joy Division, a band whose influence is still present in the music industry today, almost 30 years after Curtis' suicide- even finding their way into song titles (such as the Wombat's latest, 'Let's Dance To Joy Division', and The Killers 'Shadowplay' cover).

You would struggle to find another man more qualified to make this film than Corbijn, a Dutch photographer who spent many hours around the band, taking photographs and even recording one of their music videos. With this two hour black and white film, Corbijn sums up Curtis' (and Joy Division's) depressingly short life, from their first meeting at a now-legendary Sex Pistols concert to Ian's suicide following depression and the reality of fronting a famous band. Unfortunately, I wasn't fully aware of Joy Division before Control: I knew the basic story of Curtis' suicide but I hadn't actively sought out their music, something which I really regret.

Control evidently isn't, shall we say, a happy film; the sense of dread is evident from the start. The few laughs on offer here are generated through the black humour which offers temporary relief: be it Tony Wilson signing their first contract in his own blood, as promised (not true, it turns out- according to my brother, a veritable musical encyclopedia) or Curtis and friend Kevin visiting old aged people to steal their prescription drugs for the "effects". But the black comedy isn't what makes this film, in fact, Corbijn deliberately orchestrates things so that the funny moments are few and far between.

From start to finish, the love of those around Ian is right there up on screen: Anton Corbijn has channeled his experience with the band whilst Tony Wilson and Deborah Curtis (Ian's wife) both produced. The screenplay is based on Deborah's autobiography 'Touching From A Distance' (an apt title), and the film highlights how difficult her life was: through Ian's epilepsy, his affair with music journalist Annik and Ian's insular attitude (locking himself inside rooms for hours on end), their marriage was not as it should have been.

There are brilliant performances across the board: Sam Riley is a fully convincing Curtis (my Dad was taken aback at how similar they looked), pulling off the look, voice and movements to create a fully accomplished performance (which I hope will be lauded at the Academy Awards). Samantha Morton gives a strong performance as Deborah Curtis, a woman who suffered much through the years, whether watching Ian perform 'She's Lost Control' (a less than complementary song about herself) or becoming aware of Ian's affair and his claim that their marriage was a "mistake".

So what of the music? One of the most memorable scenes takes place when the band perform 'Transmission' on Wilson's radio show, after which he signs the band, now with the moniker Joy Division as opposed to Warsaw (a reference from a David Bowie song). We see the recording of many songs, and the live performances are brilliant. Riley has a hard job cut out for him, but he pulls off Curtis' baritone and 'different' dance moves (which bear a strong resemblance to the epileptic fits he often suffered). The other actors who make up the band give brilliant support, and they've obviously worked hard with their respective instruments. The use of 'Atmosphere' in the ending scene (where Curtis' hangs himself on the clothes rail) is poignant, and those watching will leave the cinema with a chill withe Deborah Curtis' screams of 'Will someone please help me?'.

Control will always remain as a record of Joy Division and their their talent, if nothing more. If, however, you love their music, this is a testament to the band, who have had a huge effect on the music industry. This slice of pop-culture will ever remain to show how special Joy Division were, and as a cold reminder of how great they could have been.

Joy Division- She's Lost Control
Joy Division- Shadowplay
Joy Division- Transmission
Joy Division- Love Will Tear Us Apart
Joy Division- Atmosphere
The Killers- Shadowplay (Cover)
The Wombats- Let's Dance To Joy Division

Some other cool things to check out:

The official website, with trailer and more information
An article written by Natalie Curtis- Ian's and Deborah's daughter- about Control.

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