Torn Sam Riley in Control.
Two very British films form the basis of the show this week. One's about pop, the other's about Pops.
You've probably heard about Control already. It was a hit with everyone in Cannes and the music and style press have been swooning over its depiction of angsty icon Ian Curtis, who - if you believe them - basically changed the entire world of popular music by fronting Joy Division, being miserable and dying young.
Based on the book Touching From A Distance by Curtis' widow Deborah, the film Control admirably recoils from both hagiography and bitterness. Four reasons: Samantha Morton's performance (I think she's a real screen animal, the best, most instinctive, carnal and visceral British actress of her generation - has been since her debuts in Cracker on the telly and in the amazing film, Under The Skin); Sam Riley's sympathetic and intelligent portrayal of Curtis; Toby Kibbel's amusing turn as band manager Rob Gretton; and Anton Corbijn's stylish direction, impressively of a piece with his photography of the band and the era.
The film's arrival has prompted several pieces about great rock films and Control, I think, does take its place among them, although it doesn't quite have the scope and sense of mischief achieved by Michael Winterbottom in the splendid 24 Hour Party People.
Listen to my interviews with the two Sams, Morton and Riley. I'd been told Samantha was in a bad mood and that I should be scared, but although we only had a short time, I found her very chirpy and looking happy in her heavily pregnant state. She really doesn't care about all that skinny Hollywood stuff anymore, which is refreshing. As is Sam Riley, who can't quite believe his luck, but is happily seizing the day. It's a good story, Control, and certainly one of the best British films of the year.