Movie Review: Control
Like Jim Morrison before him, Ian Curtis exists in the mind's eye as more of an idea than a real person. Certainly, his early death contributes mightily to this perception. Anton Corbijn's Control, however, rescues him from the murky fog of legend and restores him to a state of full humanity. It is, simply, a remarkable film, as much for what it is as for what it is not. It resists the temptation towards the high, operatic drama that infects so many biographies, creating instead a brilliantly elliptical portrait of a troubled, gifted man.
When we first meet Ian Curtis in the film, he's a typical, Bowie-obsessed English lad of the early 70's. Perhaps he's a bit more curious and introspective than most, but not unusually so. He meets a girl named Debbie, quickly falls in love and marries her, and they begin leading a peaceful, normal life. Ian works in an employment office by day, and he and Debbie go to clubs at night to hear nascent bands like the Sex Pistols perform. One evening, though, Providence intervenes. Ian runs into some friends who need a singer for their band.