Follow TV Tropes


Film / Control

Go To

Control is a 2007 Biopic about Ian Curtis and Joy Division, directed by Anton Corbijn (who had worked with the band as a photographer) as his directorial debut. It's possibly the only straight-up biopic about Ian's life that isn't a documentary.

No relation to the Remedy Entertainment game, or the Azumanga Daioh fanfiction.


  • Always Someone Better: It's implied that Debbie feels this way about Annik.
  • As Himself: Punk poet John Cooper Clarke portrays his younger self, performing his poem "Evidently Chickentown" as the opening act for a Joy Division concert.
  • Badass Beard: Like the real Hook, Joe Anderson has a glorious beard.
  • Break-Up Song: "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is played after Curtis and his wife start to fall apart following his distance from her.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Ian is usually quiet, but when's he's angry or yelling, he's scary.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Cameo: Natalie Curtis, Ian's daughter, appears in the audience of the Derby Hall gig.
  • Convulsive Seizures: Curtis was an epileptic, so this side of his life is also shown.
  • Country Matters: The band gets the attention of Factory Records head Tony Wilson with a note which simply states: "Joy Division, you cunt."
  • Cover Version: Sam Riley, Joe Anderson, James Anthony Pearson, and Harry Treadaway (as Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner, and Stephen Morris respectively) all do the songs in the scenes where Joy Division plays live or records. The songs are: "Leaders of Men", "She's Lost Control", "Transmission", "Insight", "Disorder", "Isolation", "Love Will Tear Us Apart", "Digital", "Dead Souls", and "Candidate".
    • The Killers cover "Shadowplay" during the credits.
    • Averted with "No Love Lost", and "Atmosphere", which were the original recordings by the real Joy Division.
  • Cult Soundtrack: Interestingly enough the soundtrack album has covers of the originals more than anything else.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter Hook and Rob Gretton. So very much.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The entire film is shot in black and white. Justified as the vast majority of existing photos regarding the band are in black and white.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Deborah doesn't return his feelings of staying with him, Ian sends her out which leads to a seizure. He recovers only to finally hit this point and commit suicide.
  • Advertisement:
  • Doomed Protagonist: Everyone knows from the start that Ian Curtis eventually committed suicide.
  • Downer Ending: Ian commits suicide and Deborah is left distraught as she has to raise their infant daughter alone.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Everyone knows the story will end with Ian committing suicide.
  • From Bad to Worse: The final Joy Division gig at Derby Hall, with Ian frequently ducking off stage in order to combat a worsening seizure, forcing Alan Hempstall of Crispy Ambulance to step in for him. The gig ends in a riot.
  • Happily Married: Ian and Debbie, at first.
  • Mr. Fanservice: There's quite a few shots of Ian shirtless, mostly early in the film.
    • Peter Hook's shirts are sometimes slightly unbuttoned as well.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-universe. Tony tries to comfort Ian with this after the riot under From Bad to Worse, by saying the band's publicity will help them when they tour the US.
  • Oop North: The film takes place there. In fact the corresponding TV Tropes article used a shot of this movie to illustrate this.
  • Parental Neglect: Ian doesn't really spend much time with his daughter, Natalie. Then again, his epilepsy and commitment to the band makes it difficult.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: After Ian kills himself, the others are sitting sadly in a pub. Then, Gillian Gilbert shows up to comfort them. After she sits down the shot lingers on them.....showing the classic lineup for New Order.
  • Retirony: Played with. Ian commits suicide on the eve of the band's first US tour, which would have made them famous as Closer became a hit not long after his death.
  • Running Gag: Ian and others are often making fun of The Buzzcocks's band name.
  • Spurned into Suicide: Ian kills himself after an argument with Debbie.
  • Talent Double: Averted by the actors. As previously stated above, they played the songs themselves, helped by there being plenty of Three Chords and the Truth songs. Sam Riley (who portrayed Curtis) having been the lead singer of a rock band once beforehand may have helped also.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The implication of what starts Deborah's relationship with Ian to deteriorate. Ironically, in Real Life, both Ian and his 'lover' Annik Honoré were considered Platonic Life-Partners, with Annik constantly stating her relationship with Ian was platonic.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: