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Thread: "Control"

  1. #16
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    "the black and white cinematography, the grim oop north kitchen sink drama aspects to the story of young lovers getting stuck in marriage, mortgage and a good job in the civil service vs. a more glamourous exciting existence they dream about, the way that late 70's MCR is still stuck in the 50s-60s in many ways before the Thatcher-yuppie years and urban renewal would change it - the pram outside the Victorian industrial red-bricked terrace in the cobbled street, nappies hang-drying in the kitchen, etc... non?"
    Maybe, I mean on paper when you list the similarities I see what you're saying but it certainly didn't remind me of them when watching it or make the same type of impression. I think that mainly because although it was in black and white it was a very different looking black and white - seemed much more sumptuous and expensive looking to me.

  2. #17
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    Its worth seeing, there were only 6 other people in the audience in Surrey Quays on its opening Saturday night same amount as there were to see David Cronenberg 'eXistenZ'.
    I thought it was going to be far worse than it actually was. It seemed to capture the era with some excellent support acting plus a classic portrayal of Tony Wilson and great black and white moody shots.
    The storyline though was made into a bit of a soap opera reminding me of the doors film at times plus the actor who playing Ian, Sam Reily, some of his singing reminded me of the Jim Morrison too much rather than Ian Curtis. A typical misunderstood artist and long suffering wife narrative. It was very clichéd at times but there was a real bleakness to it and humour at times.

    I never saw them live being far too young; if I had I probably would have a different viewpoint on it and hate it. I am sure there are equal measures of artistic license and truths in this production. Apparently the band have fallen out over it. The film is based on Ians life based on his wifes book and experiences supposedly its not a film about Joy Divison per say, which doesn’t seem to be the case really as the band are really pivotal to his life and this film story.

    7/10

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  3. #18
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    Default i wonder,

    for someone who isnt particularly interested in the music, is this still worth seeing?

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnek View Post
    for someone who isnt particularly interested in the music, is this still worth seeing?
    Of course. Just take a portable nano radio and listen to the sport on 5 Live. Simple.

  5. #20
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    Equally untempted by this. It all seems like a classically de-intensifying piece of biography, everything naturalised and pop psychologised into conventionality (both in terms of explanation and fitting joy div into a ludicrously straightforward canonic "tragic rock" slot)... Joy Division taken out of relation to politics, post punk, and modernism, and to Peter Saville's art design and Martin Hannet's production techniques are entirely meaningless to me, it fails to capture that inhuman aura of purest grimmest EVIL which I felt from their music, moreso than any black metal or whatever, that unearthly sense of coldness, of the entire political situation of the time expressed in sound... that darkly compelling sense that is impossible to put into words (but which has nothing to do with suicide- check Nirvana for how lame that particular myth really is) or even sadness or melancholy, but rather some portal into the electrical inner-life, all chill neural fire and shattered glass, and in all of it a kind of heroism of youth, within the grip of mortality, an electrifying dialectic of fleshy heat and ice-pick cold. To place all of that on the shoulders of an individual is romantic tosh-- its as embodiment of something broader that Joy Division are important, how a mere confluence of contingencies can give rise to all this would be far more interesting to explore.
    Last edited by gek-opel; 03-11-2007 at 05:17 PM.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by gek-opel View Post
    Equally untempted by this. It all seems like a classically de-intensifying piece of biography, everything naturalised and pop psychologised into conventionality (both in terms of explanation and fitting joy div into a ludicrously straightforward canonic "tragic rock" slot)... Joy Division taken out of relation to politics, post punk, and modernism, and to Peter Saville's art design and Martin Hannet's production techniques are entirely meaningless to me, it fails to capture that inhuman aura of purest grimmest EVIL which I felt from their music, moreso than any black metal or whatever, that unearthly sense of coldness, of the entire political situation of the time expressed in sound... that darkly compelling sense that is impossible to put into words (but which has nothing to do with suicide- check Nirvana for how lame that particular myth really is) or even sadness or melancholy, but rather some portal into the electrical inner-life, all chill neural fire and shattered glass, and in all of it a kind of heroism of youth, within the grip of mortality, an electrifying dialectic of fleshy heat and ice-pick cold. To place all of that on the shoulders of an individual is romantic tosh-- its as embodiment of something broader that Joy Division are important, how a mere confluence of contingencies can give rise to all this would be far more interesting to explore.
    That's it in a nutshell (even though you haven't seen it! [Whoever said you need to 'experience' a text in order to judge it?]).

    Control is symptomatic of the long-standing poverty of that film genre - the music film (invariably regressing into irrelevant biopic), whether about a musician or even a concert movie, as this recent TimeOut 'fave fifty' confirms: 50 greatest music films ever. And even the No 1 in that list, Todd Haynes' innovative debut film-short from 1987, Superstar: the Karen Carpenter Story, makes much the same mistake - I've long since grown tired of seeing endless docs about Joplin-Hendrix-Morrison-Drake-Vicious etc retrospectively re-defining the historical contingencies of their music purely in terms of their suicide. That list excludes so many excellent films, I wouldn't know where to start ... Where, for instance, is John T Davis' innocently impressionistic Shell Shock Rock from 1978, his verite doc about the Northern Ireland punk scene (and which reminds us that Corbijn's aesthetic strategy, his nostalgic mode, is twenty years out of kilter, in its attempt to graft on the late 1950s urban England of Room at the Top on to the late 1970s), the Bowie and Talking Heads docs from the 70s and 80s (the latter superior to their concert movie)? Ironically, Velvet Goldmine Haynes probably would have been a better choice as director than Corbijn, even though his imminent film on Dylan has fallen into the same trap.

    Unsurprisingly, Simon Reynolds makes much the same points in his recent New York Times review: the film's retreat into 'family values' psychologizing. But what else would anyone really expect from U2-enmeshed Corbijn?

  7. #22
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    Yeah just the promo stuff tells me all I need to know really (which is that it irons out everything profoundly troubling about Joy Division and utterly commodifies it into a comically wrongheaded handsome troubled romantic bollocks... which WAS in there, but as the LEAST interesting dangerous vital element...)

  8. #23
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    I wish I could say I expected more from this, but I didn't.

  9. #24
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    I went to see this on Friday night, and it is shocking. Shocking. I didn't go in with high expectations, and I quite enjoyed it in a so-bad-it's-good way. But this is an exercise in squeezing JD into a NME approved noughties indie template.

    Ian Curtis is an absolute gift to the experimental film maker - a lyricist who made innovative use of cinematic devices to convey his detached, unnatural mental state; whose lyrics brim with vivid, unsettling images ('the blood of Christ on thier skins'; 'in the shadowplay, acting out your own death...'; 'a house somewhere... where dogs and vultures eat'). A singer who saw the stage as a gladiatorial arena, performance as a physical chastisement, and himself as a medium for the focussed energy of the mob.

    But with all that to work with, Control gives us a straight linear narrative that makes the film feel like a teen high school movie - except that teen movies generally have razor sharp scripts, whereas Control's script was cringeworthy. Several times I laughed out loud. The bit where Annik puts on here best pouty Emmanuelle accent and says "Zoh... tell mee abow-oot Macclesfield?" elicited a particularly hearty guffaw.

    And the research was awful. The film totally failed to evoke a sense of specific time and place beyond a general northern grimness that was more glossy that grim. Where was the litter? The fag-ash? The boarded up shops? The chip fat? It was 'Joy Division - The Hovis Years'.

    Tony Wilson was played as a parody of Steve Coogan playing a parody of Tony Wilson (who was parodying himself anyway) - Rob Gretton was an irritating public school kappa kid and Martin Hannett was a member of the Doobie Brothers. There must be so many graves spinning in Manchester...

    Credit where it's due: the budget was obviously rock bottom, although it doesn't look cheap, which I suppose is an achievement of sorts. Samantha Morton is excellent, God knows what she's doing in this, but anyway. I suppose it's good to see Deborah Curtis getting a cinematic right of reply. And thousands of kids will go out and buy Unknown Pleasures and Closer, then go home and get thier brains blown out by some pounding existential terror and never listen to thier Kooks albums again (c'mon, dream with me here...).

    The moment that summed the film up for me was the recreation of the So It Goes appearance, where the production designer had decided to have a dozen Marshall 4x12 cabs across the back wall, six per side, to tell people that this is, yunno, a classic rock moment. I just thought to myself, "Who the fuck researched this? "Marshall 4x12s are Led Zeppelin, Cream, Canned Heat, et al. No other piece of music hardware so instantly says 'bloated 70s stadium blues boogie excess' like a Marshall 4x12 cab. And no band with any pretensions to being punk would have been seen dead with even one of them, never mind twelve. It summed up the crass ignorance and lazy mythologising impulse at work here. Whoever designed that set knew nothing about punk at all, and wasn't interested in Joy Division beyond fitting them into a tired, one-size-fits-all rock casualty narrative.

    A shoddy, disposable film about a beautiful, essential band. Watch 24 Hour Party People instead.

  10. #25
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    Ha.

    Well all this criticism of the film might well be fair enough but in that case I'd like to big up Anton Corbijn for destroying this particular sacred cow. Good work son.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabba Flamenco Crossover View Post
    The moment that summed the film up for me was the recreation of the So It Goes appearance, where the production designer had decided to have a dozen Marshall 4x12 cabs across the back wall, six per side, to tell people that this is, yunno, a classic rock moment.
    Weird. Isn't it on youtube? The bit where they play Transmission is very faithfully done, except for the intensity of the performance of course.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel emits View Post
    I'd like to big up Anton Corbijn for destroying this particular sacred cow. Good work son.
    A fair point, if that's what he'd set out to do. But it clearly wasn't.

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