Joy Division (Closer… to finality?)

grant-gee-joy-divisionShortly after its release on DVD I watched the Joy Division rockumentary by Grant Gee (much acclaimed for similar stuff on Radiohead -‘famous’ it seems-). Being a sort of old-skool fan I couldn’t escape the same sense of disappointment I had with Control. It was good, maybe even great in a way, but it certainly didn’t fully live up to my expectations. Not excluding my expectations to be the problem.

I regretted that Control didn’t fully capture the insights from Deborah Curtis’ heartbreaking book Touching From A Distance. The problem with this Joy Division rockumentary is that it is mainly a collection of people talking about the band, about Ian, but without much focus or coherence.

The influence and ‘atmosphere’ of the grey concrete of Manchester is visually well captured. The visionary approach of Martin Hannett -sound of breaking glass-. Peter Saville‘s graphics. Authentic footage. All… nice.

But nothing on Warsaw? Their early recording? And no clear chronology or backgrounds on the making of the music, the songs. Confirmation that those who survived (aka New Order) can’t sit in the same room. I only liked Stephen Morris’ funny nervousness, kinda like his drumming.

Deborah Curtis preferred not to appear in a movie with a certain Mrs. Honoré in, but her contribution would have been tremendously bigger.

So, finality? It will probably never be. There are just… opinions.

(how he lost) CONTROL

I have finally watched Control (on DVD). It was good, even great, but it didn’t fully live up to my expectations. It is not the story of a relationship with the band as background, although the movie is based on Deborah Curtis’ book Touching From A Distance, which I have read a couple of times. It is neither the story of Joy Division (gotta get “Joy Division” by Grant Gee). So I guess it just ends up somewhere in between, leaving me with this not fully satisfied feeling. I also grew into it, as during the second half it felt better. The feeling remains that it is somewhat overstyled and polished.

I did not feel the alienation, the pain, the fits, the distress, the inability to handle the success, the loss of… control, as in the book. Deborah shows Ian’s dreams were complete after releasing Transmission and Unknown Pleasures. Her pain of not being involved more by Joy Division’s entourage, e.g. when listening to Closer (too late). Never mentioning the name of her man’s mistress. How she hàd to divorce him (almost did).

One crucial scene I really missed is how Ian didn’t dare to hold his little daughter for what turned out to be one of the last pictures of him.

Overall it was worthwhile. Certainly the actors are astonishing. Check out the frightening resemblance with some original footage:

And watch the movie trailer: