Screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh's adaptation of Touching From a Distance, by Deborah Curtis, the wife Ian left behind, gives short shrift to some of the singer's less sympathetic peculiarities, including his fascination with Nazism. Instead, the narrative focuses on the love triangle involving Ian, Deborah (Samantha Morton) and Annik Honoré (Alexandra Maria Lara), a Belgian fanzine writer, as well as his struggles with epilepsy. But if this approach proves a bit simplistic at times, the film's black-and-white imagery is bracingly complex, recalling early-'60s British character studies like The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and the music, which blends period tracks with Joy Division material actually performed by Riley and the actors portraying his bandmates, is sonically and emotionally spot-on. That's less true of the film's final quarter, which draws out and fetishizes Curtis's last act to an unnecessary degree. But audience members will hardly be able to claim that they didn't see it coming.
Control screens today starting at 4:30 p.m. at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli and continues its run through November 1. Tickets are $5.75 to $8.75; get more details at www.denverfilm.org or 303-820-3456.
Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2007