Nov 4, 2007

"Don't walk away in silence...."

I've been waiting to see Anton Corbijn's take on the life of Ian Curtis ever since I heard about the project a couple years ago. Not only has Joy Division been one of my favorite bands for quite some time now, I've always also been a huge fan of both Corbijn's iconic photography and his music videos (especially "Heart Shaped Box", "Personal Jesus", and "Hero of the Day"). In my mind, it was a match made in heaven. After weeks of frantically searching for some local release date information, I finally got to check it out at the Music Box theater here in Chicago and I was very impressed. I knew that with Corbijn at the helm that it was going to be a beautiful looking film, but I had my doubts as to how well the rest of it would flow. Turns out I needn't have worried, it was a superb film. The cult legend that has built up around Curtis and Joy Division over the last twenty or so years meant that it would have been easy for this film to slip into rote idol worship, ignoring the humanity of the central character. But I feel like Corbijn did an excellent job of portraying Curtis as a living, breathing human instead of some larger than life icon that floats like some ghostly specter over his music. He certainly wasn't a perfect guy, his treatment of his wife Deborah was shameful at best, and Corbijn didn't shy away from any of that. I don't know that I understand Curtis any better after having seen Control, I'm not sure that anyone ever has or will, but I certainly appreciated the glimpse into the life of such a hugely mythologized figure. And the decision to have the cast recreate the music was an excellent one, it gave the concert sequences an intensity that would have been lacking had they simply mimed the Joy Division originals. I highly recommend checking this film out if you have the chance, Joy Division fan or no.

In other news, I was disheartened to learn this past week that one of my favorite online music magazines unexpectedly closed down for good as of the first of the month. Stylus had long been one of my daily stops for music reviews and articles, featuring some of the better music writing found on the net. It will most definitely be missed, but check out the site's archives while they are still available.