About Me

My photo
Give me music and give me noise....

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The dreary sound of Joy Division

"It's so dreary, isn't it?"

My octogenarian mother's remark upon hearing Joy Division, as featured on the soundtrack of Anton Corbijn's generally excellent 2007 film, Control.

I seem to recall that before their noughties-era sanctification by mainstream music critics, this was a commonly-held view, even among rock music fans of a relatively "alternative" stripe. Ie, that Joy Division were OK, a decent band, but ultimately "depressing". As ever, my mum's generally on the money.

Anyway, to my unreconstructed pro-JD ears, it still provides a small thrill to see Sam-Riley-as-Ian-Curtis doing his freaky dancing and hearing snippets of the band, albeit snippets apparently done by the actors themselves.

Ian Curtis' Memorial
Pic: jayneandd

For me the film transcends the miserably mediocre level of most music bio-pics by focusing quite hard on Curtis' epilepsy and his falling-apart marriage. The music, rightly, is the background to all this.

I liked the shots where Corbijn juxtaposes old Victorian Macclesfield with its starkly modern post-war make-over buildings, and the final scene of smoke rising from a crematorium at Curtis' funeral is spot-on: very sad and very beautiful, with the hills of the Peak District shown in the background. But I thought the best scene in the film was the one where Curtis is confronted over his affair by his wife Debbie (Samantha Morton) in the hallway of their house. Each question she fires at him meets with an anguished silence. The silences are the scene's strength.

As so often, it's all about the sound production. Maybe the ghost of Martin Hannett had a hand in this excellent scene ...

No comments:

Post a Comment