ControlMoviePoster_000Directed by Anton Corbijin,Control, the story of the influential band Joy Division, is perhaps one of my favorite movies of the last five years. The story itself, which concentrates on the life of lead singer Ian Curtis, is enough to make the movie a compelling biopic. But with stunning performances and a special focus on Joy Division’s music, Control makes for a hell of an emotional roller coaster from start to finish.

Set in Manchester, England during the middle to late 1970’s, the movie depicts the unsteady life of Curtis and the unexpected rise of Joy Division. Curtis had married his wife, Deborah, when the two were only 19. This was a source of angst for him, as he felt trapped thereby being lulled into starting an external affair with a young Belgian named Annik. He soon finds out that he is epileptic. At the same time, Joy Division was rising as one of the most important bands of the decade, something that Curtis was finding too hard to handle.

Although Curtis’ suicide is imminent from the beginning, the viewer is able to experience how all of the contributing factors lead him to his untimely death, right as the band was about to make a major breakthrough.  The role of Curtis is played so convincingly by Sam Riley, with equally strong support from Samantha Morton as Deborah, that it is hard not to feel a lump in your throat by the film’s end. Couple this with excellent recreations of the band’s music and you have a biopic that is worth watching again and again.