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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Movie Review: Control + Lots of Joy Division Videos

Control is the story of Joy Division, but really Ian Curtis (actor Sam Riley). The lead singer who got married young, joined the band, found out he had epilepsy, had a kid, started getting famous in England, had an affair, wobbled back and forth between his wife and lover, and then hung himself the day before heading to the USA for a tour. You can find the story on Wikipedia so I'm not giving anything away.
The interesting part of the movie is how they cover the relationship between his wife, his lover, and his epilepsy.

Joy Division - She's Lost Control:
Actor Sam Riley gets the performance down pat in the movie and this video shows some of the patent Ian Curtis moves. I have seen many people call it the epilepsy dance

The movie is based off of Deborah Curtis's (wife) novel. I think this is surprising because there was only one scene where we see a strong connection between the two of them, instead we see lots of Ian alone listening to music and writing. I also never felt that Ian had a strong connection with anyone in his band, the person he seems most connected to is manager Rob Gretton.
Once the band is taking off Annik from Belgium enters the picture. Their relationship is hot and heavy and she is the one person that seems to spark Ian to life. From that point forward we get lots of crazy from Ian and his wife, we also get a real sense of the negative impact that epilepsy had on his life and music. 

Joy Division - Shaowplay
Here is the actual footage of the band on Granda Television. They do this exact scene in the movie only they perform the song Transmission.

The mood of the movie matches the music. It is cold and moody, but intriguing. It is filmed in black and white which helps set the tone. The cinematography and music scenes are my favorite part of the film. The music is great and the actors get the performances dead on. This film is a must see for fans of music, but otherwise you should probably just skip it.

Joy Division - Transmission
I think Bernard Sumner's guitar work in this song is simple but so effective. He hits some great single note solos and makes a great racket that really builds the intensity. Looks to me like Ian Curtis took a few notes from Jim Morrison on performing. The video gets interrupted by Bono to tell you how he was influenced, then you get to hear from the other band members and manager.

After Ian's death the myth of the man and band became bigger. The real power of Joy Division was their influence on the music of the time and on future musicians. The band also solidered on under the new name and sound of New Order.
Link to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" their most famous song made shortly before the death of Ian.

New Order - Ceremony:
The first single released by New Order was actually intended to be a Joy Division song. It still sounds like Joy Division. Bernard Sumner is singing but his delivery is not that different than Ian's for this song.

New Order - Temptation:
New Order would quickly develop their own sound with a bigger synthesizer and dance influence. It starts to show on this classic. Hey, when I hear this and it gets to "up, down, turn around...." I can't help but tap my toe and shake my head. I gotta dance! This video also shows the originality of factory records and Tony Wilson the brave cool soul who supported this band and Joy Division (also Certain Ratio and Happy Mondays). I love this live version and video. Can't help but falling in love with the record and flower stealer. This song is also used on Trainspotting. Ok - I need to stop now....this song is the bomb.

The Temptation of Victoria from Dani on Vimeo.

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