Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 58 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Ian Curtis has aspirations beyond the trappings of small-town life in 1970s England. Wanting to emulate his musical heroes, such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop, he joins a band, and his musical ambition begins to thrive. Soon, though, the everyday fears and emotions that fuel his music slowly begin to eat away at him. Married young, with a daughter, he is distracted from his family commitments by a new love and the growing expectations of his band, Joy Division. The strain manifests itself in his health. With epilepsy adding to his guilt and depression, desperation takes hold. Surrendering to the weight on his shoulders, Ian's tortured soul consumes him. (The Weinstein Company) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    It's also that he's really, honest-to-God, got one of those movie faces that doesn't even come along once every generation. It's astonishing.
  2. 90
    You don’t have to know anything about Joy Division to grasp the mysterious sorrow at its heart.
  3. Control doesn't claim to know the reasons Curtis killed himself. The act of suicide poses the question why, but rarely answers it, leaving the living to wonder, and to grieve. And there's certainly grief to be had in Control, but also joy. Really.
  4. 80
    Those who worship Joy Division may bridle at Corbijn’s film for its reluctance to mythologize their hero. Speaking as someone so irretrievably square that I not only never listened to the band but didn’t even know anyone who liked it, I can’t imagine a tribute more fitting than this.
  5. 75
    A rock bio minus the fun. The sex is guilt-stricken, the drugs are used to treat epilepsy, and the rock 'n' roll is about isolation and despair.
  6. 75
    In essence, Control is a standard order biopic of a tormented artist. What makes the film interesting, if not unique, is the style in which director Anton Corbijn has elected to present it.
  7. Reviewed by: LD Beghtol
    Despite excellent performances from Samantha Morton, Craig Parkinson, and the radiant Toby Kebbell, along with a noble effort from pretty newcomer Sam Riley as Curtis himself, Control is like a wake where the guests forgot to bring the booze and, for the most part, have nothing very nice or even particularly interesting to say about the deceased.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 26
  3. Negative: 4 out of 26
  1. KyleB.
    Aug 15, 2009
    This movie was excellent. I love the fact that they over recorded the songs with the band that they had in the movie, this makes the movie alot more interesting by watching and listening to how perfectly they learned joy divisions music to play for this movie. Expand
  2. WilliamG.
    Nov 5, 2007
    Brilliant. I loved it through and through.
  3. charles
    Oct 30, 2007
    Excellent film... as a JD fan, I thought it was done in a way that even non-JD fans could enjoy it. All of the actors playing the JD band members actually played their instruments and performed those songs... it wasn't just Reilly overdubbing vocals over original JD recordings! That is something that really impresses me about the skills of the actors chosen for the band. True, Curtis was a genius, but he was also human... I felt this film was grounded in reality without trying to evangelize/make a martyr out of Curtis. Expand
  4. MattA
    Jun 22, 2008
    Beautifully shot. Superb Performances by all characters. A great biopic about a true music innovator and legend, who was not perfect by any means. The only problem with this movie is that the screenplay is a bit drawn out, and the pacing is a bit off. A great movie to watch, made better if you are familiar with the band's works. Expand
  5. May 25, 2013
    Shot entirely in black and white I found this film very atmospheric and it also had a gritty realism about it. I thought all the performances were excellent with both Sam Riley and Samantha Morton taking top honours. I also have to give a mention to Toby Kebbell who totally stole a couple of scenes with some great over-the-top one-liners. The story is primarily told from Debbie’s point of view and as such we get a very interesting look at the life of this enigmatic soul. This film inspired me to go out and buy a Joy Division greatest hits CD and it’s music that’s always been close to my heart. I should mention that all the live performances portrayed in the film were performed by the actors and so hat’s off to them for making it real. Whether you were a fan of the band or not I’m sure you’ll get something out of this one. Be warned though, it’s quite a tough watch, even when you do know the outcome.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 8.4/10
  6. N.J.
    Oct 14, 2007
    An honest movie about a truly significant band. A times the scenes are a little schematic. I think that's largely due to the scenario, which is an attempt to squeeze as much emotion into the story as possible. Apart from the excellent music scenes, there's just not a lot of time for emotional development, so it remains a little sketchy. Expand
  7. RogueM.
    Oct 27, 2007
    I hated this piece of pretentious rubbish.

See all 26 User Reviews


Related Articles

  1. Ranked: Music Video Directors Turned Film Directors

    Ranked: Music Video Directors Turned Film Directors Image
    Published: August 31, 2010
    Before Anton Corbijn was directing feature films like this week's "The American," he was the driving force behind iconic music videos for Depeche Mode, U2, and Nirvana. Inside, we look at the careers of Corbijn and over 20 other directors who have made the jump from MTV to the big screen.