Director: Anton Corbijn
Year Released: 2007
The figure of Ian Curtis - troubled lead singer of the British band Joy Division, who committed suicide at age 23 - eludes director (and former associate) Corbijn, who basically makes this an Emo-Marital Spat Movie (no doubt, since it's based on Curtis' widow's book) instead of an investigation into the singer's psyche. Curtis stands there, lost and gloomy, like the shell of a person, but Corbijn doesn't look much further - I figure it's because Corbijn has too much respect for the singer's accomplishments, and leaves too much up to the songs themselves ("She's Lost Control," "Atmosphere," "Transmission," "Love Will Tear Us Apart"), placed at particular moments, to describe his mental state (I usually criticize Cameron Crowe for doing the same thing). The shadow of 24 Hour Party People looms huge over this (and consciously so - there are several references to it), except that film had a different tone and approach and was from a different narrative perspective (Tony Wilson was the extrovert to Curtis' introvert, and makes a better storyteller and 'hero'), plus (and I hate to say it) Michael Winterbottom is a more well-rounded filmmaker than Corbijn (apologies, Anton: I love the music videos and photos). Sam Riley's eerie - and studied - performance deserves an award, but American audiences have no idea who any of these people are. And, of course, the music will live on (hopefully) forever....