by Luke Copping
Directed by: Anton Corbijin
The pacing of this film is immediately off putting, it starts out slow and somewhat awkward, but as the various elements of this film come together to tell the story of the final days of Ian Curtis’s life they coalesce into a steady driving rhythm, much like his music. The movie’s bleak, black and white images are the perfect visual representation of the music of the band Joy Division. The downbeat, low points of the film are punctuated with frenetic musical interludes, performed live by the actors, who all practiced together as a band for their roles.
Control is a better than average rock bio pic, but it does suffer from some of the pitfalls of the genre. There are also moments of the film where you notice Corbijin slipping back into his experiences as a music video director, sequences which seem slightly out of place from the rest of the film. The main problem with films in this genre is not with the director or the actors, but with us as viewers. You already know what is coming and how the film will end; and as the final act approaches you start to over-anticipate that moment. As a Joy Division fan myself I enjoyed the film, and especially Sam Riley’s performance of a tired and disconnected Curtis, but I wonder how my opinion would change were I to watch this film as someone totally unfamiliar with the band.
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Tarsem Singh’s The Fall, his latest feature film since 2000’s The Cell, is immediately appreciated because of its stunning cinematography and visuals. From the gorgeous black and white opening, to the sombre images of a 1920’s hospital, the movie is rife with gorgeous imagery. But what really defines the film are the fantasy sequences of the story within the frame narrative. Landscapes (the film was shot in 18 different countries) and set pieces of breathtaking quality combined with top notch composition and costume design, define this as a film in which the images are a key element in moving the story along.
Bouncing back and forth between the characters true selves in a 1920’s California hospital and their fantastic counterparts in the aforementioned fictional tale told by one of the patients, The Fall is a study in both the nature and manipulative power of storytelling and the idea that one persons telling of a story may be radically altered by another’s interpretation of it. However the last act of the film does feel a little rushed as if racing to give the audience closure in a film already running nearly two hours. A better balance could have been stuck between fitting as many of the great visual sequences in and developing the narrative more. Overall the film is a beautiful example of what an imaginative and detail oriented film maker and story teller can create.