However, what is great about this film is that such a tragic story is told with so much eloquence. There are few overly dramatic scenes, reflecting Curtis' own rather insular and withdrawn persona, and thankfully, the supporting cast are not drawn as Madchester caricatures. Based on Deborah Curtis’ book, the film reveals Ian to be an earnest, sensitive yet almost unfathomable figure. You know him, and yet you don't; a man of contradictions. He wants to make Joy Division a success, then seems uncertain. He wants to start a family, but shuns domesticity when he can. He begins an affair, but cannot bear to let Carol go.
Beautifully shot, this is the sort of film where you just sit there for a few minutes as the credits roll - I came out feeling pretty glum. This isn’t the story of a clichéd rock ‘n’ roll suicide, but a very human tale of a man breaking up under the strain of wanting to make things right, unable to find clarity in his relationships, and dogged by an unsteady cocktail of prescription drugs. The acting is wonderful, the direction understated, but you’ll probably need a drink afterwards.