Control

  • Directors: Anton Corbijn
  • Producers: Anton Corbijn, Todd Eckert, Orian Williams, Iain Canning, Peter Heslop, Tony Wilson, Deborah Curtis
  • Writers: Matt Greenhalgh, Deborah Curtis
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Music
  • Actors: Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, Toby Kebbell, Alexandra Maria Lara

The film begins in 1973, with 17 year old Ian Curtis living in a block of flats in Macclesfield, England with his parents Kevin and Doreen and his sister Carole. An early scene in a school chemistry classroom depicts Curtis daydreaming which may be a symptom of petit mal, a minor form of the epilepsy which was to develop later in his life. It is during this period that he first meets Debbie Woodruff, who is dating his best friend Nick. After bonding over a love of music and Ian’s penchant for poetry, they attend a David Bowie concert together and realize they share a mutual attraction. Ian quickly proposes and Debbie accepts. Despite the fact that they are both very young, they are married and move in together. However Ian quickly loses interest in married life, locking himself in his room writing poetry, while Debbie decorates the house.

The film then follows Ian and Debbie attending a Sex Pistols gig in 1976 where he meets Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Terry Mason. All three members criticize their lead singer which leads Ian to approach the band at the end of the concert to suggest he become vocalist. This then leads the band to become Warsaw, recruiting Stephen Morris as drummer with Mason taking over managerial duties. The band then eventually plays their first gig with nervousness.

Later that day Debbie returns home and walks into the house. She then discovers Ian’s body hanged in the kitchen (the actual scene of Curtis’ body hanging is not shown) and runs out of the house in hysteria, holding Natalie as she cries “can someone help me”. As Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” plays, we see Rob Gretton, the remaining members of Joy Division and Stephen’s girlfriend Gillian Gilbert (the remaining members of Joy Division and Gillian would eventually form New Order) in a pub staring silently and Tony Wilson and his wife Lindsay picking up, and consoling Annik at a train station. Church bells ring with very black smoke rising to the air from a crematorium. The message “Ian Curtis died May 18, 1980. He was 23 years old.” appears on the screen. The screen then fades to black with “Atmosphere” still playing.

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