Vin Beckett

Written by Vin Beckett

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Welcome to the fascinating world of the movie Control! Released in 2007, Control is a critically acclaimed biographical film that delves into the life of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the iconic band Joy Division. Directed by Anton Corbijn, Control offers a raw and intimate portrayal of Curtis’s rise to fame and his struggle with personal demons.

This article will take you on a journey through 37 intriguing facts about the film Control. From behind-the-scenes anecdotes to little-known trivia, we will explore the making of the movie, its impact on both the cast and the audience, and the powerful story it tells. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Joy Division or simply interested in the world of music biopics, get ready to discover some fascinating insights about this remarkable film.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Control” is a captivating movie that dives deep into the life of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, showcasing his struggles, relationships, and the impact of fame on his mental health.
  • The film’s black and white visuals, authentic performances, and emotional storytelling make “Control” a must-watch for music fans, leaving a lasting impression on its audience.
Table of Contents

Control is a biographical film

Control is a biographical film released in It is based on the life of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the band Joy Division.

Directed by Anton Corbijn

The movie Control was directed by Anton Corbijn, a Dutch filmmaker and photographer.

Insight into Ian Curtis’ life

The film provides a deep insight into the life of Ian Curtis, his struggles with depression, his rise to fame, and ultimately his tragic death.

Impressive cast

The movie features an impressive cast including Sam Riley as Ian Curtis, Samantha Morton as Deborah Curtis, and Alexandra Maria Lara as Annik Honoré.

Authentic portrayal

The actors’ performances in Control are highly praised for their authentic portrayal of the real-life individuals they are portraying.

Filmed in black and white

To reflect the era in which Joy Division was active, Control was filmed entirely in black and white, creating a visually striking aesthetic.

Feature debut of Sam Riley

Control marked the feature film debut of Sam Riley, who delivers a compelling performance as Ian Curtis.

Soundtrack featuring Joy Division

The movie’s soundtrack features numerous songs by Joy Division, capturing the essence of the band’s music and contributing to the film’s atmosphere.

Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival

Control premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, where it received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Director’s Fortnight Award.

Based on the book by Deborah Curtis

The film is based on the book “Touching from a Distance” by Deborah Curtis, Ian Curtis’ widow, providing a deeply personal perspective on his life.

Depiction of Manchester’s music scene

Control offers a fascinating depiction of the emerging music scene in Manchester during the late 1970s, specifically focusing on the rise of Joy Division.

Exploration of Ian Curtis’ relationships

The movie delves into Ian Curtis’ complex relationships, including his marriage to Deborah Curtis and his affair with Belgian journalist Annik Honoré.

Intimate and raw cinematography

The cinematography in Control is intimate and raw, capturing the emotional intensity of Ian Curtis’ life and performances.

Portrayal of Curtis’ epilepsy

The film doesn’t shy away from depicting Ian Curtis’ struggles with epilepsy, providing an honest portrayal of his condition and its impact on his life and career.

Accurate reproduction of gigs

Control features accurate reproductions of Joy Division’s gigs, allowing viewers to experience the band’s live performances through immersive visuals and audio.

Tackles themes of fame and artistic expression

The movie explores themes of fame, artistic expression, and the toll they can take on an individual’s mental health.

Ian Curtis’ poetry is featured

The film incorporates Ian Curtis’ poetry, offering insight into his creative process and the deeply personal nature of his lyrics.

Revered by Joy Division fans

Control is highly regarded by fans of Joy Division for its respectful and nuanced portrayal of the band’s history and their influential frontman.

Depicts the band’s evolution

The movie showcases the evolution of Joy Division, from their early days as Warsaw to their transformation into one of the most influential bands of the post-punk era.

Intense and compelling performances

The performances in Control, particularly by Sam Riley and Samantha Morton, are praised for their intensity and emotional depth.

Addresses mental health

Control sheds light on the mental health struggles faced by Ian Curtis, exploring the impact of depression and other personal demons on his life.

Emotionally charged script

The script of Control is emotionally charged, capturing the essence of Ian Curtis’ inner turmoil and the complexities of his relationships.

Reflects the era’s post-punk music movement

Control authentically captures the spirit of the post-punk music movement that emerged in the late 1970s, with Joy Division at its forefront.

Accurate portrayal of Manchester’s urban landscape

The film accurately portrays the gritty and industrial landscape of Manchester during the late 1970s, immersing viewers in the band’s hometown.

Awards and nominations

Control received several awards and nominations, including the prestigious British Independent Film Award for Best British Independent Film.

Ian Curtis’ legacy

The movie Control contributes to the continued legacy of Ian Curtis, ensuring that his story and music are remembered by both existing fans and new generations.

Emotional impact

Control carries a powerful emotional impact, with its raw depiction of Ian Curtis’ life and the tragic circumstances that surrounded him.

Honors Ian Curtis’ artistry

The film pays tribute to Ian Curtis’ artistry and his significant contribution to the music world, highlighting his unique talent as a songwriter and performer.

Cult following

Control has garnered a cult following over the years, further solidifying its status as a beloved and influential music biopic.

Critical acclaim

The film received widespread critical acclaim for its compelling storytelling, performances, and its ability to capture the spirit of Joy Division.

Impact on the music biopic genre

Control has had a significant impact on the music biopic genre, demonstrating the potential for these films to go beyond the traditional boundaries and delve into the artist’s psyche.

Ian Curtis’ distinctive dance moves

The movie showcases Ian Curtis’ distinctive dance moves, often referred to as the “Ian Curtis dance,” which became iconic in the music world.

Exploration of the creative process

Control explores the creative process behind Joy Division’s music, shedding light on the band’s songwriting approach and their artistic vision.

Influences on subsequent filmmakers

Control has influenced subsequent filmmakers, inspiring them to explore the lives of other iconic musicians and artists in a similar fashion.

Authentic period costumes

The film features authentic period costumes, capturing the fashion of the late 1970s and adding to the overall authenticity of the movie.

Strong narrative structure

Control has a strong narrative structure that seamlessly blends the personal and professional aspects of Ian Curtis’ life, creating a compelling and cohesive story.

Enduring legacy

Control’s enduring legacy lies in its ability to keep the memory of Ian Curtis alive, ensuring that his story resonates with audiences for years to come.


Control is a remarkable movie that delves into the life of Joy Division’s lead singer, Ian Curtis, and the band’s rise to fame. With its mesmerizing visuals, captivating performances, and compelling storyline, Control offers an intimate portrait of Curtis’ tumultuous life and the impact he had on the music industry.

The film’s meticulous attention to detail, from its authentic recreation of the Manchester music scene in the late 1970s to its accurate portrayal of Joy Division’s performances, is a testament to its commitment to honoring Curtis’ legacy. Directed by Anton Corbijn, a renowned photographer and music video director who had a personal connection with Joy Division, Control succeeds in capturing the essence of the band’s music and the personal struggles faced by Curtis.

Control is a must-watch for music lovers and fans of Joy Division. It shines a light on the complexities of fame, artistic expression, and the human condition. Whether you are familiar with Joy Division or discovering them for the first time, this film offers a powerful and moving experience that will leave a lasting impression.


Q: Is Control based on a true story?

A: Yes, Control is based on the memoir “Touching from a Distance” by Deborah Curtis, the wife of Ian Curtis, and provides an authentic portrayal of his life and the rise of Joy Division.

Q: Who directed Control?

A: Control was directed by Anton Corbijn, a renowned photographer and music video director, who had a personal connection with Joy Division and captured their essence in the film.

Q: What is the significance of the title “Control”?

A: The title “Control” refers to the desire for control that Curtis grapples with throughout his life, both in his personal relationships and in his struggle with epilepsy and mental health issues.

Q: Is the portrayal of Joy Division’s music authentic in the film?

A: Yes, Control includes accurate recreations of Joy Division’s performances, with actor Sam Riley giving a convincing portrayal of Ian Curtis’s distinctive singing style and stage presence.

Q: Can I enjoy Control if I’m not familiar with Joy Division’s music?

A: Absolutely! While having some knowledge of Joy Division’s music adds to the experience, Control is a standalone film that tells a compelling story of an influential musician’s journey and is accessible to anyone interested in music and biographical dramas.

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