Control - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Control Reviews

Page 2 of 340
August 6, 2014
The best vesion in terms of facts but not quite their in entertainment
½ June 24, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

I don't consider myself as the biggest Joy Division enthusiast, but I can proudly say that I do love their music and I consider myself at least a fan of their work. The band has made an impact on my life and my perspective of music. I remember when around 5-6 years ago, when I first heard the band, I listened to Unknown Pleasures, it didn't instantly blow me away instead it crept up on me as I kept coming back to it. It was songs like She's Lost Control and Disorder that truly hit me in the heart and convinced me that they are one of the greatest and underrated bands of all time. They were the reason I immersed myself in Post-Punk bands and led me the path in finding artists like The Cure, Gang of Four, and Echo and the Bunnymen; they also allowed me to appreciate the bands that came before them with bands like The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, and The Velvet Underground (though the latter only by a little bit as they were already regarded as one of my top bands way before I found Joy Division). So before coming into this, I did have some expectations, thinking I would be blown away right from the start. Sadly the film didn't succeed in doing so.

Control's plot is the exploration of Ian Curtis' life, showing us where and how he started; his experience in school and the relationship he has developed with Deborah whom he eventually married to the building of Joy Division and his handling of his health condition, Epilepsy. If one doesn't know Ian Curtis' history or listens to the band's music, then this film might or might not work for them as Curtis' life and the music, particularly the lyrics, are connected with each other so deeply that in order to completely understand, one must be aware of both, but then again this is just how I feel and my opinion is quite biased with the subject. So I came into this film with a bit of knowledge on his life, but my expertise is more concerned with the band itself rather than the singer alone, so I know how the film would turn out. The film explores so much aspects of the artist's life and because of this the film felt a bit flat. If the film spent more of its time on his battle with epilepsy or the creation of the band or even his relationship with Deborah, then this film would have been more impacting as the film would have had enough time to flesh it out and focus on the character's feelings towards the particular issue. Yes, I am aware that the film's point was to create this idea that his life has become so chaotic to the point where he loses almost all sense of control, living a life that is practically not worth living, but the film's running time only stretching out to roughly around two hours and with so much content, it feels rushed and unfocused. Maybe my detachment with the film is also based off the fact that I am only truly interested in their music and the journey the band took together in making it, rather than the individuals themselves.

I do have to give it to Anton Corbijn, the director, to keep the film feel as authentic as possible. Certain moments or things like when the band watched the Sex Pistols perform, or that Ian is a big fan of David Bowie and Lou Reed, or the inspiration of the lyrics for She's Lost Control was a girl he witnessed who has suffered from an epileptic seizure, or that the band used to be called Warsaw and that the dances he performances on stage is erratic and based off his epileptic experience, are some of the examples that shows how much care Corbijn shows for the artist, the band and their history. It was only Curtis' relationship with his wife and his mistress are the things I don't really know much about, and the film does help me understand and care a bit more about those aspects, but it still wasn't as interesting as the other aspects of his life.

The film featured great black and white cinematography that truly captured the melancholy and pain of the artist's life. It also connects well with the band's music and matching with the colors and simplicity of the band's two studio album covers. The film features some original music by New Order but most of the film uses songs from artists including David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols, Kraftwerk, The Buzzcocks, and at times from the band themselves, either performed by the actors or by the band themselves. I think the film would have benefited if the entire film used original material from New Order to maintain some sort of consistency and allow the film to feel more dramatic; sometimes the film felt empty and quiet, I personally felt these particular scenes needed a hint of music to elevate the tension of the situation. At least the songs being played are connected with the band's influence of creating their music. The actors that play the members of the band actually performed live, which was clear to me as it wasn't as on point as I thought it would be, nevertheless it's still a great job on the actors for being able to capture the intensity of the band during their gigs. It also would have been great if the film had used one of Joy Division's masterpieces in the film, "Ceremony"; it was one of the last songs that the band composed before the tragic event and the transition of the band to New Order.

The film's acting is mostly carried by both Sam Riley as Ian, and Samantha Morton as Deborah. Both did a wonderful job in capturing the essence of their real life counterparts and provide excellent chemistry between the two actors. The actors that portray the other band members were also great but the film sadly didn't spend enough time on them.

Control is a film that had the potential to captivate me but unfortunately falls short due to the lack of exploration of its subjects and ideas. If one is a fan of Joy Division or New Order then one shouldn't miss this as there are a couple of things in this that would excite even the casual fan. For now, I hope that someday there would be a film about Joy Division and the relationship between each of the members and the music they produced.
½ June 24, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

I don't consider myself as the biggest Joy Division enthusiast, but I can proudly say that I do love their music and I consider myself at least a fan of their work. The band has made an impact on my life and my perspective of music. I remember when around 5-6 years ago, when I first heard the band, I listened to Unknown Pleasures, it didn't instantly blow me away instead it crept up on me as I kept coming back to it. It was songs like She's Lost Control and Disorder that truly hit me in the heart and convinced me that they are one of the greatest and underrated bands of all time. They were the reason I immersed myself in Post-Punk bands and led me the path in finding artists like The Cure, Gang of Four, and Echo and the Bunnymen; they also allowed me to appreciate the bands that came before them with bands like The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, and The Velvet Underground (though the latter only by a little bit as they were already regarded as one of my top bands way before I found Joy Division). So before coming into this, I did have some expectations, thinking I would be blown away right from the start. Sadly the film didn't succeed in doing so.

Control's plot is the exploration of Ian Curtis' life, showing us where and how he started; his experience in school and the relationship he has developed with Deborah whom he eventually married to the building of Joy Division and his handling of his health condition, Epilepsy. If one doesn't know Ian Curtis' history or listens to the band's music, then this film might or might not work for them as Curtis' life and the music, particularly the lyrics, are connected with each other so deeply that in order to completely understand, one must be aware of both, but then again this is just how I feel and my opinion is quite biased with the subject. So I came into this film with a bit of knowledge on his life, but my expertise is more concerned with the band itself rather than the singer alone, so I know how the film would turn out. The film explores so much aspects of the artist's life and because of this the film felt a bit flat. If the film spent more of its time on his battle with epilepsy or the creation of the band or even his relationship with Deborah, then this film would have been more impacting as the film would have had enough time to flesh it out and focus on the character's feelings towards the particular issue. Yes, I am aware that the film's point was to create this idea that his life has become so chaotic to the point where he loses almost all sense of control, living a life that is practically not worth living, but the film's running time only stretching out to roughly around two hours and with so much content, it feels rushed and unfocused. Maybe my detachment with the film is also based off the fact that I am only truly interested in their music and the journey the band took together in making it, rather than the individuals themselves.

I do have to give it to Anton Corbijn, the director, to keep the film feel as authentic as possible. Certain moments or things like when the band watched the Sex Pistols perform, or that Ian is a big fan of David Bowie and Lou Reed, or the inspiration of the lyrics for She's Lost Control was a girl he witnessed who has suffered from an epileptic seizure, or that the band used to be called Warsaw and that the dances he performances on stage is erratic and based off his epileptic experience, are some of the examples that shows how much care Corbijn shows for the artist, the band and their history. It was only Curtis' relationship with his wife and his mistress are the things I don't really know much about, and the film does help me understand and care a bit more about those aspects, but it still wasn't as interesting as the other aspects of his life.

The film featured great black and white cinematography that truly captured the melancholy and pain of the artist's life. It also connects well with the band's music and matching with the colors and simplicity of the band's two studio album covers. The film features some original music by New Order but most of the film uses songs from artists including David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols, Kraftwerk, The Buzzcocks, and at times from the band themselves, either performed by the actors or by the band themselves. I think the film would have benefited if the entire film used original material from New Order to maintain some sort of consistency and allow the film to feel more dramatic. At least the songs being played are connected with the band's influence of creating their music. The actors that play the members of the band actually performed live, which was clear to me as it wasn't as on point as I thought it would be, nevertheless it's still a great job on the actors for being able to capture the intensity of the band during their gigs. It also would have been great if the film had used one of Joy Division's masterpieces in the film, "Ceremony"; it was one of the last songs that the band composed before the tragic event and the transition of the band to New Order.

The film's acting is mostly carried by both Sam Riley as Ian, and Samantha Morton as Deborah. Both did a wonderful job in capturing the essence of their real life counterparts and provide excellent chemistry between the two actors. The actors that portray the other band members were also great but the film sadly didn't spend enough time on them.

Control is a film that had the potential to captivate me but unfortunately falls short due to the lack of exploration of its subjects and ideas. If one is a fan of Joy Division or New Order then one shouldn't miss this as there are a couple of things in this that would excite even the casual fan. For now, I hope that someday there would be a film about Joy Division and the relationship between each of the members and the music they produced.
May 30, 2014
Acertada fotografía a blanco y negro que transmite el tono depresivo y oscuro que siempre rodeo a la mítica banda Joy Division y su vocalista Ian Curtis. Control narra el nacimiento, reconocimiento y la prematura muerte de una de las mayores influencias de la escena musicales de los años 70.
May 20, 2014
Great biopic. Turn me in a joy division fan
April 27, 2014
Great movie about the story that impacted 2 great bands: Joy Division & New Order. Portrayal of the life and death of Ian Curtis based off book by (ex) wife.
February 21, 2014
Excellent depiction of Ian Curtis' last few years. Especially impressive that it doesn't fall into some of the cliches about someone who was troubled, but also a flawed, Northern bloke.
January 16, 2014
Moving vital film. Unusually for most mainstream movies, the central female role (Deborah) viewpoint is fleshed out (if only the same could be said for the characterisation of the second main female, Annik). Sam Riley is outstanding.
½ January 3, 2014
I really want to see this
½ December 12, 2013
Well, I'm sort of disappointed becouse i'm not sure Ian was just a victim of his own egoism. This movie is more about "Love will tear us apart" than Ian himself and I didn't noticed break point to his melancholy. Great cinematography and music of course.
November 18, 2013
Now thats a history that most of the people forget but if you wanna know about JOY DIVISON then you will get it. A touching true story.
September 18, 2013
Control is a hauntingly beautiful and engaging biopic with sublime performances and stellar direction
½ August 18, 2013
I loved it! I loved the poetics - intimate, theater-like and Bergman-like at moments structure. And B&W works so good in this movie. Usually when it comes to movies like this you keep in your mind that you're watching the story of an artist. In this case you see a boy's story and it's a touching one, a one that makes you feel. Even though I've rated it so high I don't feel like watching it again. It's like a one-time discovery.
½ July 28, 2013
one of my all time favorite movies.fucking masterpiece.RIP IAN CURTIS
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ July 19, 2013
"Sid and Nancy II: The Ballad of Some Other Underwhelming Late-'70s Punk Band With a Tragic Story That People Forgot About". Well, I reckon I figured out a way to make this film's title less bland and formulaic, though maybe this film should just stick with the title the filmmakers settled on, because Joy Division was only original in their being a post-punked-up version of The Doors, only, you know, a little duller ("Oh, yeah, Jim Morrison made Mick Jagger look tedious, he was such an exciting frontman"). Well, at least Joy Division wasn't quite as obnoxious as Sex Pistols, and yet, plenty of people have kind of forgotten Joy Division... probably because the band, while alright, still wasn't too much better than Sex Pistols. Yeah, I'm not entirely sure on what Ian Curtis had control of, because it wasn't like he had all that tight of a grip on an attractive vocal style... or his marriage... or neurological stability. Jeez, Curtis just couldn't catch a break, so I reckon it's fitting that this film didn't catch too much of a break, so much so that it wasn't even as big of a success as a certain other experimental biopic of a popular musician in 2007, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, well, that's exactly my point. Well, "I'm Not There" wasn't too much more commercially successful that this film, but I still give it plenty of credit for being downright awesome, as opposed to this biopic. That being said, this film is a decent one, even though it can't quite gain enough "control" on storytelling to do away with some flaws.

Pacing is nothing if not problematic in this film, with limp areas in momentum being the most recurring issue, but not without some company from hurried occasions, which can at least be found within expository areas of storytelling that are generally well-fleshed out, but have their share of glaring underdeveloped moments that could have easily been made up for if this film didn't pay so much attention to bloating storytelling with excess material that gets to be repetitious. Perhaps repetition could have been obscured by dynamics within the kick of director Anton Corbijn's atmospheric storytelling, but I suppose we'll never know, because while Corbijn's storytelling has plenty of effective areas, limpness in plot structuring goes much too emphasized by atmospheric limpness that looms over the film all but throughout it, watering down kick so much that when you're not blandly disengaged, you're bored. The film gets to be a bit dull, as well as repetitious at times, yet dragging is also emphasized by a certain other aspect, and that is unevenness, for although I give this film a lot of credit for having the guts to tackle most every key aspects within the brief life of Ian Curtis, and often doing this subject matter justice through effective areas in resonance, storytelling has a tendency to, for too long of a time, intensely meditate upon one layer of this intricate character study, - whether it be Curtis' career, or relationships, or internal conflicts - rather than organically bond the layers, thus making the eventual shifts in layers to prove jarring and ultimately detrimental to your investment within any aspect of this story. Focus isn't exactly all over the place, but it is incoherent, and before you know it, storytelling begins to lose a sense of progression and devolves into aimlessness, even though it's not too hard to figure out what stands at the end of this meandered path, thanks to the familiarity of the path that even those who are unaware of the story of Ian Curtis will find. The film isn't quite as formulaic as I feared, but Curtis' story is one that has been experienced time and again by many other musicians, and this film interpretation of such a story fails to do as much as it probably should to grace this narrative with something refreshing, shamelessly succumbing to conventions and tropes that can't even be fully compensated for by the aforementioned and relatively distinct storytelling flaws. Some of your more unconventional areas to storytelling are the flaws, and even then, we've seen uneven pacing and focus in all kinds of films of this type, thus they go emphasized by the conventionalism, leaving the final product to ultimately find itself with too little steam of sustain genuine reward value. Still, there is admittedly enough steam to the final product for it to secure genuine decency, and do so pretty handsomely.

I'm not saying that the film is "Schindler's List" good-looking, but intentional black-and-white cinematography in this day and age has to be really hard to do very well, and that makes Martin Ruhe's efforts all the more commendable, because even though the lack of visual color does what degree of liveliness there is within this film's all too often dried up atmosphere no favors, stunningly clever plays with lighting and framing emphasize the sparseness of this film's color palette in way that captures this drama's brooding, yet tasteful tone, sometimes with haunting beauty. For an experiment with colorfully limited visual style, this film looks really good, and places its good looks into the context of its atmosphere with a thoughtfulness that gives you a feel for the isolation faced by the center of this intimate character drama's focus, even if it also adds a bit to the atmospheric sobriety that blands things up by giving you a chance to meditate upon the many shortcomings in storytelling. Of course, I must admit, the steadiness of this slow drama also gives you a chance to meditate upon what is done right in Matt Greenhalgh's and Ian Curtis widow Deborah Curtis' script, which does, in fact, have its share of strengths to offer alongside weaknesses, such as some sharp, if a bit inorganically incorporated comic relief, and genuinely effective areas in expository depth that draw a layered story. Sure, there is quite a bit of underdevelopment to plenty of areas, and the layers of this narrative are all too often unevenly handled, but this script's courage to extensively tackle as many areas of the tragic story of a flawed artist as it can within two hours is commendable enough to be endearing, and when the highlights of Greenhalgh's and Curtis' screenplay go well-executed by Anton Corbijn, the result is pretty effective. Corbijn approaches the telling of this story very steadily and meditatively, and in plenty of ways, underwhelmingness wouldn't be as firmly secured as it ultimately is without the dulling atmospheric dryness, yet when Corbijn's efforts work, you're left to not only meditate upon the pacing problems on paper, but upon the depths of this narrative that give you a sense of progression while you observe the evolution in a man as he comes of age from an ambitious and quiet teenager into a well-recognized and rather well-intentioned man whose flaws will mean his destruction. As much as I praise this film's highlights, they're few and far between, and such infrequency in quality renders the final product unable to escape underwhelmingness, but not get so lost in its shortcomings that you can't see the glimpses into what could have been, which gradually grow in quantity, largely because, as things unravel, material builds for our talented cast, or at least for our lead, because even though most every performer in the supporting cast has his or her moment to shine, at the end of the day, all the supporting characters are are mere bits and pieces surround the story of Ian Curtis, whose portrayal can make or break the final product, which is why then-newcomer Sam Riley gives it all he can in a sometimes underwritten, but generally revelatory performance that keeps consistent in charisma, and proves to be remarkably convincing in its selling the layers to Curtis, whether when he's a punky lad or a seriously flawed man, whose gradual decline is sold with so much dramatic commitment by Riley that, at times, you have to see what this kid who came out of the blue to be in this film does in order to believe it. Uneven writing holds back Riley's impact, but Riley still transforms into Curtis and proves to be instrumental in selling the effective areas in this extensive character drama, and while that's not enough to carry the final product out of underwhelmingness, the Riley's performance is just one of a fair deal of highlight that keep you going, even if you do still walk away wishing for more.

When the "new dawn fades"... or whatever, underdevelopment proves to be a considerable issue whose severity goes topped only by repetitious dragging in plot structuring that is made all the more glaring by atmospheric dull spells, and leaves certain aspects to this layered character study to go too intensely focused upon for focal unevenness to be avoided, sending the final producer meandering down a familiar path until finally tripping into underwhelmingness, challenged enough by gorgeous cinematography, well-rounded highlights in writing, compelling highlights in direction and a relatively upstanding, if a bit underwritten lead performance by Sam Riley for Anton Corbijn's "Control" to stand as a decent study on the short life of Ian Curtis, with almost as many highlights as shortcomings.

2.5/5 - Fair
July 9, 2013
The tragic story of Ian Curtis, lead singer of brilliant post-punk band Joy Division. The black and white cinematography reinforces the bleakness of Curtis' inner world as well as the drabness of the setting in Macclesfield. Sam Riley gives a good performance as Curtis and the music is great of course. I remember buying Closer in 1980 after Curtis' death. Just such a tragic waste of talent.
June 19, 2013
Superb portrait of a mind, and a talent, that started eating itself and couldn't stop. A brilliant black-and-white evocation of times gone by, and a warning against the compulsion to please others at our own expense. RIP Ian Curtis. Amazing film :-)
May 18, 2013
Fantastic photography, fascinating subject.
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