Skip to content

Anton Corbijn

The American * Anton Corbijn (2010)

Aha, the “Hollywood Factory” is moving around interior, so last week we saw only half of the new releases. Not that I found “Machete” this time (it will only arrive in the coming week), but “The American” would have been a descent alternative last week. Corbijn’s second is completely different from his biography of Ian Curtis. George Clooney is “the American” arms dealer ending up in rural Italy were he comes to reconsider his carreer. For one time Clooney does not use his charms in a romcom or screwball, but he plays a ruthless man, self-preservation being his primery goal. Not that “The American” is a shootout action film, not at all in fact. “The American” is a very slow and minimalistic film with beautiful images (but what do you expect from a photographer as director?) with but little conversations, showing Clooney as a lonesome man. The slow pace makes the few action scenes come in harder, especially because Clooney, who does manage to raise the sympathy of the viewer, remains icecold, or does he? “The American” is a nice film with a descent atmosphere. Reading back my review of “Control” I think I find “The American” better, but neither film of Corbijn is a masterpiece.

Control * Anton Corbijn (2007)

ControlIn the great film “24 Hour Party People” (2002) you can see how in Manchester different musical currents come together on one label. A part of that film is about Joy Division. The famous photographer Anton Corbijn picks a small part of the storyline of “24 Hour Party People” and gives us the short life of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. “Control” is based on the biography of Deborah Curtis. I think I expected too much of this film, because I am not really satisfied with it. Having been a photographer for so many years, I expected some fancier camera-work, but besides the moody black-and-white, the camera-work is fairly standard. What I also find strange is that “Control” only seems to portray a part of the story. There is close to nothing about the controversy around the band in the earlier days. The band is portrayed a another popband with another pop-audience, while I am under the impression that Joy Division ‘mothered’ the goth/batcave scene to some extend. Also strange is that the myth of a contract in blood with Factory Records is used. The thing that troubles me most -though- is that Corbijn fails to show how and why Curtis came to do what he did. Sure, he has problems with the pressure of succes and relational problems, but to me it does not become really clear how Curtis became so depressed. Perhaps the order of complete songs that Corbijn shows tell a story, but they were unfortunately not subtitled and I hardly know them myself. The last album supposedly spelled the things to come, but that does not become clear in the film either. To me “Control” was just an alright watch. There is some music in it, some biography, pinnacle peeks into the music scene of the day, but overall Corbijn did not manage to show me what I think he wanted to.