Manchester, 1976; Ian Curtis (Sam Riley) joins a fledgling band, Joy Division, as the singer but finds it difficult to balance his life as a husband, father, pop idol and epileptic. Famed photographer Anton Corbijn was the right person to adapt the Joy Division chronicle penned by Curtis’s wife Deborah; he had previously worked with the band. He turns out to be a gifted director; the story of Curtis’s depressing life is credibly and emotionally told, with black-and-white visuals that make the memories look damned near beautiful. Anyone who has seen a biography of a tortured artist will recognize the ingredients… but Riley makes it all look fresh.
2007-Britain-Japan-Australia. 121 min. B/W. Widescreen. Produced by Anton Corbijn, Todd Eckert, Orian Williams. Directed by Anton Corbijn. Screenplay: Matt Greenhalgh. Book: Deborah Curtis (“Touching from a Distance”). Cinematography: Martin Ruhe. Cast: Sam Riley (Ian Curtis), Samantha Morton (Deborah Curtis), Alexandra Maria Lara (Annik Honoré), Joe Anderson, James Anthony Pearson, Harry Treadaway.
Trivia: The actors playing Joy Division members learned how to play the songs and perform them in the film.
Last word: “The book was the starting point, but the film is not a film of the book. We had access to that, but I also wanted to have the input of the girlfriend, Anik, and, of course, the book would never tell that. I don’t think Debbie likes the movie now, she did in the beginning, but no longer, because it’s something she didn’t want to see happening, I think, that it’s really a film about Ian rather than her relationship with Ian.” (Corbijn, Interview Magazine)