Joy Division (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/04/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Impressively directed documentary that tells a compelling story and features candid contributions from an intriguing array of talking heads.

What's it all about?
Directed by Grant Gee, Joy Division tells the story of Joy Division, tracing the band's history from their beginnings as a punk band in Manchester to their first taste of success and their collaboration with legendary music guru Tony Wilson, until lead singer Ian Curtis's tragic suicide in 1980, at which point the band renamed themselves New Order.

The film features extensive contributions from all the surviving members of Joy Division (Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris) as well as specially filmed interview footage of both Tony Wilson (recorded before his death last year) and Curtis's lover, Annik Honore, speaking here for the first time about her relationship with Curtis.

The Good
As well as an impressive array of talking heads, Gee has assembled a wealth of extraordinary material, including never-before-seen scratchy amateur video footage of their early gigs, archive BBC footage, aborted recording tracks, artwork, audio recordings and tonnes of photographs. The film also attempts to frame the story as the story of Manchester, though this is less successful and occasionally seems a bit pretentious.

The Great
Joy Division makes a terrific companion piece last year's Ian Curtis biopic, Control, directed by photographer Anton Corbijn, who also appears here, discussing his iconic photos of the band. In particular, it's astonishing to see just how closely actor Sam Riley nailed Curtis's distinctive looks and inimitable dancing style.

Worth seeing?
Joy Division is a treat for both fans of the band and newcomers alike, as it's packed with fascinating detail and is ultimately deeply moving.

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Content updated: 19/09/2018 21:29

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