Joy Division review

One group, two albums, three movies (counting 24 Hour Party People) and, surprisingly, it’s Grant Gee’s doc that gets closer to both Joy Division as a band and Ian Curtis as a person. While Control was a pristine, neo-kitchen-sink portrait of a sadly unknowable boy, Gee uses unheard, naked testimonies (Curtis’ lover Annik Honoré) and the singer’s speaking voice – captured weeks before his suicide – to glean a feeling of the man from those he touched. Gee’s arty manipulation of rock-doc staples (talking heads, archive film) has a vitality worthy of the music, making decayed bootleg footage luminous while contextualising JD within Manchester’s psychic landscape. Emotive and funny – the New Order boys puncturing the bloated theorising of critics with bursts of anecdote – Joy Division is no glum retrospective of a ‘depressing’ band. You won’t walk away in silence…

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