Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Go see this!

You don't need to be a fan of Joy Division to enjoy the new film "Control," about that band's doomed lead singer Ian Curtis. It helps if you're a rock music fan, but that's not really necessary either. If you've ever been young and felt like you're drowning, you'll get it just fine. And if you've never felt that way, what good are you anyway?

In 1980, just as Joy Division was helping to kick start Manchester, England's legendary music scene and were on the verge of their first US tour, Curtis did the best thing any rock star can do for his career: he hung himself. In the morbid cult of rock 'n roll this of course made Curtis a saint, but what makes Control so great is that it doesn't treat him that way. It treats him like the confused kid he probably really was. While his band was taking off, his marriage was falling apart and he was collapsing from epileptic seizures. If Joy Division had a song called "She's Overwhelmed" instead of "She's Lost Control," this movie would probably take its name from the former.

Control doesn't let Curtis off the hook and just make him a tragic hero. It acknowledges that he made his own bed. But it also portrays him as a scared boy trying to handle adult responsibility (he was 23 when he died) instead of turning him into a larger-than-life myth. Control doesn't exactly turn the rock biopic genre on its ear (I'm waiting for I'm Not There to do that) but it does a better job than most at turning its fabled subject into a human being.


Red said...

You saw this at the Ken didn't you? You know you're not allowed to go to Kensington anymore without calling me, right?

Liz said...

Haha, won't happen again

Red said...

Good :)

Seriously, though, I'm glad to hear Control was good. I'll have to walk the two blocks and go see it before it leaves