When I first heard celebrated music video director Anton Corbijn was directing an Ian Curtis biopic, I was sure that it would meet the expectations of Joy Division fans everywhere. If anything, it would at least be a visual stunner. Well, now the film, which is titled Control, has made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, and it is currently a very hot topic. Variety calls it, "a riveting, visually arresting portrait of a soul in torment."The Telegraph also praises the black and white visuals and says the film is worth watching, comparing it to British kitchen-sink dramas of the 1950s. However, The Hollywood Reporter, by contrast, predicts that the film will not follow in the success of the classic kitchen-sink films and says the film, "fails to make the case for its fallen star."

Despite the Reporter's take, though, the film is apparently generating a lot of buzz and mostly critical acclaim at the festival, with much of the talk focused on the star-making performance by Sam Riley, who portrays Curtis. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, who givesControl a four-star rating, says Riley is "superb"; The Telegraph's word of choice is "extraordinary"; Variety's Russell Edwards calls the performance "a winner". Also in agreement are the former members of Joy Division, who regrouped as New Order (with new recruit Gillian Gilbert) following Curtis' 1980 suicide. Even Peter Hook, who previously had issues with Corbijn regarding the film's soundtrack, seems to be a fan. According to Corbijn, though, neither Curtis' widow, Deborah Curtis, who wrote the source material for the film, nor his girlfriend, Annik Honoré are very happy with Control.

The biopic doesn't yet have a distribution deal for the States, but thanks to its popularity at Cannes, there will hopefully be a deal made soon. It is definite that the film won't perform as well in America as in the UK, but there are plenty of us Joy Division fans here that one of the major U.S. companies should see the film as a worthy acquisition. In the meantime, while you wait for a chance to see the film yourself, check out James Rocchi's review of Control for Cinematical, to be posted shortly.
categories Cinematical