Control (2007)

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Control is a 2007 British-American biographical film about the life of Ian Curtis, singer of the late-1970s English post-punk band Joy Division. It is the first feature film directed by Anton Corbijn, who had worked with Joy Division as a photographer. The screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh was based on the biography Touching from a Distance by Curtis' widow Deborah, who served as a co-producer on the film. Tony Wilson, who released Joy Division's records through his Factory Records label, also served as a co-producer. Curtis' bandmates Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris provided incidental music for the soundtrack via their post-Joy Division incarnation New Order. Control was filmed partly on location in Nottingham, Manchester, and Macclesfield, including areas where Curtis lived, and was shot in colour and then printed to black-and-white. Its title comes from the Joy Division song "She's Lost Control", and the fact that much of the plot deals with the notion that Curtis tried to remain so in control of his own life, and yet had no control over his epilepsy and pharmaceutical side effects.

Sam Riley and Samantha Morton star as Ian and Deborah Curtis, and the film portrays the events of the couple's lives from 1973 to 1980, focusing on their marriage, the formation and career of Joy Division, Ian's struggle with epilepsy, and his extramarital affair with Belgian journalist Annik Honore, culminating in his May 1980 suicide. Alexandra Maria Lara plays Honore, while James Anthony Pearson, Joe Anderson, and Harry Treadaway play Sumner, Hook, and Morris, respectively. The film also features Toby Kebbell as band manager Rob Gretton and Craig Parkinson as Tony Wilson.

Control premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 17 May 2007 where it won several awards including the Director's Fortnight, the CICAE Art & Essai prize for best film, the Regards Jeunes Prize for best first/second directed feature film, and the Europa Cinemas Label prize for best European film in the sidebar. It went on to win five British Independent Film Awards including Best Film, Best Director for Corbijn, Most Promising Newcomer for Riley, and Best Supporting Actor for Kebbell. It was named Best Film at the 2007 Evening Standard British Film Awards, and Greenhalgh was given the Carl Foreman award for outstanding achievement in his first feature film at the 61st British Academy Film Awards.

Peter Bradshaw, the chief film reviewer for The Guardian, described Control as "the best film of the year: a tender, bleakly funny and superbly acted biopic of Curtis". Prominent American film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a three and a half stars rating, out of four, and wrote that "The extraordinary achievement of Control is that it works simultaneously as a musical biopic and the story of a life."