For me Anton Corbijn’s Control is pretty close to perfect aesthetically (and it is certainly a treat musically too). Considering the Ian Curtis/ Joy Division subject matter, it’s very English, very Northern, very working class, very dreary and very sparse; 'the last days of an industrial city'. Tired, shabby interiors and red brick exteriors and empty room after empty room. In so many scenes rooms are vacated leaving us staring at bare walls and threadbare sofas and similarly, grey streets are left dismal and empty; a cinematic tribute to the alienation and loneliness that haunt Curtis’ lyrics.
Shots of phone lines overhead and tower block apartments, fusty lace curtains, a full – English breakfast and dingy concert venues filled with sweaty teenagers. Several shots reveal little details that endeavour to make even the most miserable of settings more pleasing – David Bowie and Lou Reed posters taped to an adolescent Ian’s walls, or a wedding photo on the mantelpiece.
Captured completely in moody black and white, 1970s Manchester has probably never looked so compelling.
Ian (Sam Riley): You can't be in my gang if you don't smoke.
Debbie (Samantha Morton): I don't want to be in your gang.
Ian: Neither do I.