Stormy Monday (1988) Poster

(1988)

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8/10
A movie in the best film noir tradition...
GirlwonderReturns24 January 2002
I really enjoyed this movie. I'm a big fan of film, but more than that, I'm a fan of actors. Strong acting, as far as I'm concerned, can redeem even the worst of movies (under the right circumstances) - and it's wonderful when the film itself is already good.

Such is the case with Stormy Monday, the directorial debut of Mike Figgis (who would later have great success with Leaving Las Vegas). The casting seems somewhat unusual, but in the end is quite effective. I have never been a big fan of either Melanie Griffith or Sting, and by contrast, have always enjoyed Tommy Lee Jones and Sean Bean, so I was unsure of what to expect. But all four impressed me greatly with their performances. This is a film which requires the use of one's senses - we see the hopeful expressions on Griffith's and Bean's faces when they meet for the first time; we hear the frustration in the voice of Jones' crooked businessman when he can't seem to get his way, and the resolve in the voice of Sting's jazz club owner when he refuses to give in to Jones.

The cinematography (by the excellent Roger Deakins) is classic film noir, and when combined with the wonderful jazz soundtrack, creates a moody atmosphere not often seen in 80's cinema. Overall, this is a success - dark, atmospheric, and absorbing, an actor's showcase and a film enthusiast's smorgasbord. There should be more like this one!
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9/10
New British Cinema at its best!
Mikew30019 September 2002
Like Mike Hodges' in his crime classic "Get Carter" (1971) starring Michael Caine, British director Mike Figgis takes another disturbing view on the dark city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in this modern British jazz and crime drama. In "Stormy Monday", pop singer Sting plays a jazz club owner who is threatened by American business man Tommy Lee Jones who wants to take his club with violent oppression. Unfortunately Sting's close friend Sean Bean falls in love with Jones' girlfriend Melanie Griffith...

Even if you know this kind of plot from many other crime thrillers and serie noire dramas, this movie is well-balanced, thrilling, fascinating and fast-pacing. The actors are great, the pictures of the city of Newcastle, though photographed in rather neon-like 1980's glamour style, nearly as dark and menacing as in "Get Carter", and the superb jazz sound track (mainly composed by Figgis himself) adds much atmosphere to the story - and even Sting plays a great double bass solo on stage! Watch this great modern crime movie, as it's a good example of the rise of modern British cinema in the 1980's. I wish they would make such movies here in Germany...
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9/10
Coolest Brit film of the decade.
MMike30 August 1999
I have seen this film a few times since it came out more than ten years ago. I think it is seriously underrated. It has a great Jazz soundtrack written by Mike Figgis, the director (who went on to make Leaving Las Vegas). A brilliant cast: Sean Bean, Melanie Griffith, Tommy Lee Jones and Sting. It has a film noir feel throughout that fits the post-industrial Newcastle setting very well (lots of great location shots BTW). Last of all, the beautifully paced editing, which is just icing on the cake.

I can't help but notice that this film is not polling too well at the moment (averaging 6.5 out of 10.0), perhaps it's the slightly anti-American subtext?

While I didn't notice any direct references to this film in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (apart from Sting doing an above average acting job in both of them). I think they would make a great double feature.

Worth it for the soundtrack alone : 9/10.
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7/10
Sting, Sean, and Tommy Lee In Newcastle for Profit
AZINDN12 December 2005
Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones) is an American businessman with lots of connections, most under the table, who arrives in Newcastle on Tyne to seal deals. The celebration of "America Week" in England announces the malling of Great Britain as American monies of dubious sources invaded while the Thatcher government turned its head. Into this cesspool, Kate (Melanie Griffith) a local waitress and formerly an "escort" for Cosmo is recruited to play nice to business associates he sends her way. Rolling over the small business owners like Finney (Sting) a jazz club owner, Cosmo has no qualms about getting what he wants whether by legit or illegitimate means.

A sub-storyline to the economic takeover by Cosmo is the love story between Kate and Brendan (Sean Bean), an Irish laborer who cleans toilets in Finney's club, but over hears the plans of two London seedy types who discuss how to make sure Finney sells the Kit Kat Klub to Cosmo. After informing Finney of their intentions, Brendan's loyalty is rewarded by his elevation to a go-for babysitting a progressive jazz band, the Krakow Jazz Ensemble who need to be picked up at the airport for a weekend gig. While Brendan carts the band around town, he falls in love with Kate. During their time together, Kate and Brendan are jumped and beaten by the roughs who surround Cosmo. The drama is predictable until a surprise twist and unexpected negotiation change the dynamic, and saves the film.

The story line entwine to provide worthwhile entertainment for an hour and forty minutes, and the actors all provide solid performances. The soundtrack is a nice mix of 80s Brit sounds and cerebral jazz tunes with Sting doing a solo bass bit mid-film although he does not sing. Tommy Lee Jones is wonderful with an evil yet subtle humor to his business dealings and the sight of a young, buff and naked Sean Bean is delightful.

A good afternoon film for a rainy day, if only for the performances by actors not usually cast together, and for director, Mike Figgis, an underrated early film worth checking out.
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9/10
A 'Sleeper' Of A Modern-Day Noir
ccthemovieman-116 December 2005
This is one of those sleeper films, a good one that is not very well- known.....but should be. I really liked this modern-day film noir when I first saw it over a decade ago and the three additional times since.

The movie has all the features of a good noir, most of all a feeling of impending doom throughout, which a good noir exhibits. You know some bad things are going to happen, but you just don't know what and when. That uneasy mood runs throughout the film.

Add some tough characters, great cinematography (nice colors, too, in this case) and even a good blues music score and you have an interesting film. The story here revolves around a ruthless American businessman trying to buy up an entire block of the businesses in one area in Britain.

There's humor in here too with a goofy Polish jazz band, which looked and sounded just awful, and just enough action throughout to keep from getting too talky. Tommy Lee Jones, Melanie Griffith, Sting and Sean Bean star and all are fascinating to watch.
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An atmospheric film noir with engaging characters
t-h-fields23 September 2002
Stormy Monday has a fairly routine plot, with a few odd twists to it. What makes it special? Three things.

The atmosphere of the movie makes you feel as if you're having a nice evening out on the town, making your way from pub to pub. You can almost taste the beer, and smell the smoke. Most of the story is shot on location in the old Newcastle city center. If you're in the right mood for something like this, then it's perfect.

Secondly, the characters are interesting and engaging, yet enigmatic. You want to know more about them. None fit the typical Hollywood stereotype. Sting, Sean Bean, Melanie Griffith, and Tommy Lee Jones (a relatively obscure actor then) are all in top form.

Third, if you enjoy jazz, then this is a must-see. In that regard, it is comparable to The Cotton Club, Round Midnight, or Bird. The visiting Polish jazz band reminds me of the struggling young musicians in Leningrad Cowboys Go America. This was clearly made by someone who appreciates good music.

This movie, released in the late 1980s, may be hard to find. But it's worth it.
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9/10
Overwhelming film noir atmosphere
Angeneer4 January 2000
I consider myself lucky I found it on the TV, even if I had lost a bit of the beginning. I will definitely rent it again. This film has an excellent atmosphere and absorbs you instantly. A great soundtrack compliments excellent performances by the four leads. The plot may be a little weak, but it is the feeling of the movie that plays a primary role. I even liked the love story inside, which is very unlike me. I see it is quite underrated here in IMDB, but for me it is a solid 9. Mike Figgis is an extremely talented director and this is a good example of his qualifications. Strongly recommended!
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Chilly and Atmospheric
Bishonen23 October 1998
A beautifully shot film noir with natural, affecting performances and interesting characters who don't reveal everything in the first half hour. The great strength of the film is that it takes its time to slowly unravel, creating a mood of unrest and doom. The love story works but doesn't overpower the rest of the narrative. An enjoyable and sadly overlooked late-80s gem...maybe Figgis's recent success with "Leaving Las Vegas" will bring some attention to this earlier work.
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5/10
tempests & teapots
gurghi-224 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The mist, the neon, the reflections- Roger Deakins could make snot shine. What a great looking movie.

And that's it. There's almost nothing else to distinguish Stormy Monday, which marches to its inexorable conclusion with measured indifference. Coincidences rule the day, while little things like character and consistency are passed over in favor of atmosphere and (perfunctory) symbolism.

Figgis can maintain a tone, but style alone just leaves me detached. The script is so tight, the story seems artificial; it succeeds mainly in assuring that none of the characters are worth giving a damn about. It's all breath, no blood.

In art, such aloofness has probably always been fashionable. It's also terribly juvenile, like a teenager who thinks that cigarette smoking makes him look grown-up. Stormy Monday is a poster child for going through the motions.
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6/10
narcissistic neo-noir
Michael Neumann5 January 2011
These days a romantic thriller usually means sex, violence, and lots of neon lights, but underneath the typically sultry mood of this latter-day film noir there's a cool intelligence at work. Writer director Mike Figgis combines several strands of plot which otherwise have little in common, involving a moody nightclub owner, a dangerous American entrepreneur, his part-time mistress, and her new, younger boyfriend, all of them in an industrial British seaport dressed up for a hands-across-the-water civic promotion. A movie so self-absorbed with mood and imagery shouldn't work as well as this, but what sets the film apart from other neo-noir facsimiles is the unusual trans-Atlantic blend of talent and the emphasis on cross-cultural confusion, best expressed by a free-jazz rendition (by the Krakow Jazz Ensemble) of the Star Spangled Banner. The atmospheric visual style isn't enough to camouflage the shortcomings of the script, but Figgis maintains the drama at an admirably low-key level, and the location photography in the city of Newcastle takes excellent advantage of an appropriately gritty urban environment.
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9/10
deceptively paced thriller
slaw-315 October 2000
Don't be deceived by the apparently slow pace of this film. Things are happening, but it's only later that you realise it, when the consequences of those early sequences start hitting and hitting hard. A well crafted film, set in Newcastle England, in which the lives of an out of work drifter, a tough prosperous night club owner, an American waitress and a hard-dealing New York businessman slowly intertwine until they're set on a collision course. All this to a seductive jazz soundtrack that just has to be heard over the hi-fi.
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6/10
A tale of two Figgi
stills-629 January 2000
I'm not sure if the screenwriter Figgis and the director Figgis ever met or were even in the same room together for any length of time for this movie. The script, scene-by-scene, is no great effort and does not deserve the intense and captivating directing job given to it.

I enjoyed the romance story - Melanie Griffith is not my favorite actress, but she didn't annoy me which is, I guess, saying something. Sean Bean is really good playing an understated "cleaning" guy, he works well with Sting's Sociopath-with-a-Heart.

The movie loses me with all the gangster stuff. There are major holes in the plot and character inconsistencies that we are supposed to believe are rich thug eccentricities, but it just doesn't fly. I enjoyed the America in England bit - a little depressing to see the kind of malling that has paved over large parts of the U.S. already. But the best scenes have to do with the Polish jazz band, a great bunch of guys whose artistic potential in this movie was never realized.

I just wish a lot more importance could have been given to character development, so that once the scene between Griffith and Bean on the roof comes along we can appreciate it more.
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Goooo, Patriots, World Champions, and the Jazz is great too
alicecbr4 February 2002
Sean Bean, what a dish!!!! In his younger years, but the acting is still first rate as he shows his naive but darker side getting in trouble with Sting, his new boss. The girl, who isn't such a good actress anyhow, plays her ditzy self but the love scenes are fine. Who wouldn't respond to this guy?

Tommy Lee Jones, my good ol' boy from Texas, plays a real mean guy beautifully who gets screwed by the dumb ol' boys from Newcastle, England. You'll really enjoy the pictures of the politicians in town, same there as here: corrupt.

Oh, yes, and dumb as well. Tippi Hedren's daughter plays a high-priced whore, doing the bidding of her 'master'....and rescued by Bean Supreme. see if for the fantastic music, and the Krakow Poland jazz band. Silly car chases, but that means they don't have to pay a good writer for that period.
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8/10
highly recommended for fans
JJCA28 February 2003
Believe it or not, i saw this movie when it first came out on video around a decade ago. While i remember Sting and TL Jones, i had NO idea that Sean Bean was is in it! Since Ive now joined the loyal club devoted to him, i was happy to find it on DVD. Must say first that this movie has held up extremely well to the test of time. Other than we notice how young the actors look, the plot has not aged. TL Jones as usual gives a masterful performance as the "bad" guy, but with a plaintive twist as one who just cant believe he cant get what he wants. Sting gives a restrained but polished performance (why i watched it all those years ago), and Mr. Bean is fantastic as the naive but determinedly loyal employee who has a heart. I would recommend this to all fans of his. The setting is gritty enough for the plot to be believable and is somewhat film noir. Other than a slightly weak start, it holds yr attention and builds to a tense finale successfully. The only thing i didnt like was the "american week" radio schtick... dont know, but somehow found it embarrassing. The DVD features are no great shakes, but then considering the age of the film, i wasnt expecting even a trailer (which you do get).
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Sean Bean is the reason to see this movie -- he steals it outright.
moviefarie8 August 2004
Sean Bean continually proves he is the best thing in any movie he is in, period. As "Brendan," and the most unknown actor in this flick, he turns in the only "real" performance in the film. You believe ever nuance of his character, a jazz buff, who is just trying to establish himself in Newcastle, England. He is the love interest of Melanie Griffith, and her partner in this story of a corrupt businessman, Tommy Lee Jones, and a tough nightclub owner, Sting. BEAN IS THE ONLY ONE WORTH WATCHING. Oddly enough, he is the newcomer in this film, but when he is on screen you are there, every second. Griffith, had the good sense to request him to play opposite her in the film, but the story is odd at best, but the young and perfectly stunning Sean Bean make this film worth the viewing. If memory serves me correctly, there was an actor's strike in America, and that is why this film has two big name U.S. stars. But they do not shine at all in comparison to the scene stealer in it, Sean Bean. Sean takes the movie completely away from the major stars in it, not by overacting, but merely by acting brilliantly and subtly. The man can break your heart and does, and his stillness on screen speaks volumes louder than all the "characterizations," of the other actors.
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"Brit" and "Polish"
deldotvee5 October 2002
I love this film! It's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but I give it an A for its Atmosphere, its sense of place. Also, it represents for me the perfect Ronald- Reagan-era vacation from the ironic excesses of the 90s lurking just around the bend.

Perhaps you can't quite believe that Kate is gonna fall off an escalator and land on top of Brendan there, with his face buried in the help-wanted ads. But you CAN believe Finney knows the local boys he's dealing with just before he

breaks Tony's arm during that confrontation in his office. You catch the scent of the bus fumes and the salt air and cigar smoke and fog as Finney and Cosmo

cross that sooty old bridge, literally and figuratively. You feel the old island shuddering and trying to shift its CG under the crass and relentless onslaught of Yankee kitsch (love the sound of the DJ's voice doing the "American" accent!) and the sinister shuffling that leads to the bright flash of light and the loud noise and the flames in the night and the rain and...
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The Ownership of the Club
tedg4 March 2007
Mike Figgis interests me. He's made three films that I consider quite worthwhile: "Timecode," "Innocence," and "Liebstraum."

The others aren't bad, just not worth the energy if you consider them as films. But I don't.

I consider them visual backdrop for his music. He's sometimes a musician first and a filmmaker second. There are other filmmakers who score their own movies, but this guy:

— is actually pretty darn good jazz musician

— has a musical imagination which sometimes you can see

This makes even this ordinary event interesting in a way. Here's the story: Sting plays a jazz club owner threatened by an oafish American played by Tommy Lee. Two creatures caught up in the wake are a janitor working for Sting and a prostitute working for Jones. Not much happens visually. Not much happens storywise or even characterwise.

And the thing has been criticized for poor editing. But look more closely and see that the editing has the timing of the jazz riffs that often accompany the scenes and in any case defines the chunking metrics of space we see.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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10/10
Well paced, realistic, drama
Em-145 September 1998
Many dramas of this genre sink into cliches and stereotypes. Stormy Monday is a refreshing change!

A good performance by Sting!
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7/10
Noir Styled Manchester
Mark Turner10 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I can remember when STORMY Monday was released. To my knowledge it never played in local theaters near where I lived. My first exposure to it was in video form. With Melanie Griffith, Sting and Tommy Lee Jones being popular at the time it was one I ordered for my shelves. Even there it didn't fare that well. It is another of those movies tossed out with no fanfare that is interesting but never found its audience. That may change with it being released on blu-ray.

The movie has several intersecting stories that culminate into one as it moves forward. The first involves Kate (Griffith) as a waitress and possibly part time mistress for a high roller. Unhappy with her life he calls to have her go buy a new outfit and join him that night. The second is a young man named Brendan (Sean Bean in his second major film role) who bumps into Kate knocking her over at the mall while reading the want ads. He in turn applies for a job at a local jazz club owned by Finney (Sting). Hired he's sent to pick up a visiting jazz band coming in from Poland. He takes them to a hotel for their visit…where Kate shows to meet up with her part time boyfriend Cosmo (Jones).

To tie it altogether it turns out that Cosmo is in town to help celebrate America Days, a business effort with the city of Manchester. His plans are to revitalize the area, tearing down current buildings and creating new jobs and opportunities. His major problem at the moment is that the owner of a jazz club, Finney, refuses to sell. Brendan meets Kate once more when he stops into the restaurant she works in to eat. While there he overhears the plans of a couple of thugs to rob the jazz club and "convince" the owner to sell. The rest of the story unfolds from there.

So a lot of the story here seems to be one piece of the puzzle conveniently fitting into the next over and over again. I found that to be a bit distracting while watching this movie. The fact that each of these characters run into one another in a city the size of Manchester, that the interest of all involved all revolves around one small club, just feels too contrived to be believable. Yes, I know it's a movie but still with this many items one after the other (including the remains of a car wreck entering the city later referenced which places the Polish jazz band working for both Como and Finney) tying into one another it pushes it a bit far.

The film is incredibly easy to watch though. The cinematography is wonderful with plenty of stylized lighting and sets combining to make it appear to be a location that's seen better days yet has several areas of interest anyway. This is in part due to the fact that it was shot by Roger Deakins who had shot SID AND NANCY the year prior and went on to shoot THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, FARGO, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, SKYFALL and more. Director Mike Figgis also went on to bigger things including directing LEAVING LAS VEGAS. For some reason his star never rose much higher than that film though.

Arrow Video is releasing this and they remain one of a handful of companies whose releases should be met with enthusiasm and excitement. The prints they off are always the highest quality and this one is no exception with a beautiful hi def edition of this movie. The extras here are limited but make the movie itself more interesting. They include an audio commentary track with director Figgis moderated by critic Damon Wise, a video appreciation by critic Neil Young discussing the city of Newcastle and how it relates to film especially this one, the theatrical trailer, a reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacey and for the first pressing only a booklet written by critic Mark Cunliffe.

Fans of mysteries, film noir and British crime films will find this a must have for their collections. Movie fans will find enough to enjoy in the film itself. And if you love all things Arrow Video like I do, it is one more movie to add to the shelf.
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6/10
A Forgotten Film
gavin694217 July 2017
A crooked American businessman tries to push the shady influential owner of a nightclub in Newcastle, England to sell him the club. The club's new employee and the American's ex-lover (Melanie Griffith) fall in love and inadvertently stir the pot.

The production was initially a low-budget project funded by Channel 4 and British Screen. When the film attracted American financing, it was suggested that the film be recast with American actors. Both Melanie Griffith's and Tommy Lee Jones' careers were in a dip at the time, and they agreed to take parts at a lower fee. Griffith never fully recovered, though Jones still had bright years ahead of him. Interestingly, some people who auditioned but failed to make the cut were Tim Roth and Kyle MacLachlan. Ultimately, the film was financed for less than $2 million by Atlantic Entertainment Group, perhaps best known for "Valley Girl" or "Night of the Comet". This would be one of their final films.

The DP is the legendary Roger Deakins, who had worked with Figgis on his prior made-for-TV film "The House" (1984). Aside from the bigger names in the cast, it is Deakins who elevates the film from a low-budget independent to the big-looking film it is. The use of neon lighting and visual references to the classic paintings of Edward Hopper are evident. Allegedly, the Coen Brothers made Deakins their regular DP after seeing his work on "Stormy Monday". (As of 2017, Deakins has been nominated for 13 Oscars but has not yet won.)

Figgis is a musician, which explains his inclusion of so many musical situations. A jazz club is central to the plot, but it not just exists in the background... the music is very much an important part of the film, almost a character in itself. The soundtrack is some of the finest jazz and blues, and even the film's title is taken from a T-Bone Walker song, "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)", which plays over the credits.

Writer-director Mike Figgis continued to make films, though other than "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995) and possibly "Internal Affairs" (1990) he has never really been seen as an A-list director. Is it time for critics to start looking at his career again? With this release, cinephiles can get a better handle on a less-celebrated director.

The Arrow Video Blu-ray is not packed, but is comfortably filled with some bonus material. We have a very informative audio commentary with Mike Figgis, moderated by critic Damon Wise. The commentary humorously mentions how Christopher Walken was in the running for the Jones role, but he was too terrifying. There is a new video appreciation by critic Neil Young, including a "then and now" tour of the film's Newcastle locations (33 minutes). This is a must-see, putting the film in the proper context of the geography, time period (including the 1970 corruption trial of mayor T. Dan Smith) and its relation to the Mike Hodges' film "Get Carter" (1971).
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6/10
jazzy Brit noir
SnoopyStyle6 September 2016
Brendan (Sean Bean) gets a job at a jazz club working for Finney (Sting) in England. Corrupt Texan businessman Francis Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones) recruits escort Kate (Melanie Griffith) for a mysterious job. He arrives in town trying to buy up the area including the club. Brendan starts going out with Kate who is a waitress at a restaurant. Finney turns out to have a darker side with a criminal past.

The first half is a bit of a muddle keeping some central mysteries. It does go down some good dark noir alleys. There is plenty of jazzy brass music. It's rainy and moody. I guess the plot can be seen as a bit jazzy. These are interesting characters. I would like the story to be clearer.
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Slow Moving Love Story and Crime Drama
dougdoepke27 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Slow moving but stylishly photographed crime drama that some might call noir. Seems an American businessman short on ethics (Jones) wants to clear the way for a mall or some such project by buying out a resistant British pub owner (Sting). Plus, Jones doesn't care if it takes strong-arm tactics to finish the deal. Short of violence, however, Jones hires a frizzy haired waitress (Giffith) to smooth the deal, if possible. Meanwhile she gets mixed up with a handsome toilet cleaner (Bean), who gets rewarded by his employer Sting for passing along overheard information about Jones' nefarious plans. All in all, it's sometimes hard to follow the plot because of the slow paced intervals, especially the extended love scenes.

Happily, however, the eye is entertained even when the story drags out. Then too, I can't help thinking there's a subtextual message lurking in the narrative. Namely, an allegory about aggressive American business interests moving into Great Britain. Note that it's officially American Week (or something like it) in Newcastle, so there's the general idea of a British welcome even if Jones is exploiting it for selfish purposes. Nonetheless, there's a British triumph of sorts when Jones goes home empty-handed and the pub remains in British hands. Perhaps something like this is implied by the focus on an American coming to England, but not respecting its laws.

Anyway, the movie is not without its positives (atmosphere, mainly), but frankly I was yearning for the classic noir style of tight script, fast action, and double-crossing dames. So this 1988 entry may amount to a matter of taste for fans of noir.
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8/10
Conflict, Romance & Violence
seymourblack-17 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
First-time director Mike Figgis wrote the script and composed the score for this wonderfully atmospheric thriller that's set in his hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The action takes place predominantly in the Quayside area where the large number of restaurants, bars and clubs ensure that the nightlife is always vibrant, even at a time when the northeast of England is experiencing a period of economic decline. The events that take place in this environment involve conflict, romance and violence and four diverse characters whose paths cross and lead to a series of surprising consequences.

Newcastle's annual "America Week" is a colourful celebration of all things American (with flags, majorettes and a giant inflatable Pepsi bottle in the middle of one of the city's roundabouts) and also, significantly, it acts as a vehicle for attracting much-needed investment into the area. Brendan (Sean Bean) is a young jazz fan who's in need of a job and so, when he sees that there's a vacancy for a cleaner at a local jazz club, he applies immediately. Finney (Sting), who's the owner of "The Key Club" is surprised at Brendan's interest in the job and takes him on as a cleaner and driver.

Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones) is a Texan businessman with big plans for redeveloping the Quayside and to this end, wants to persuade Finney to sell his club. The local council are keen to support the project and Cosmo has a track record of using whatever method of persuasion is most effective to achieve his aims. His relationship with Kate (Melanie Griffith) is based on her effectiveness in using her charms to win over the support of men in influential positions to ensure that when important decisions are made, they go Cosmo's way.

Brendan and Kate accidentally walk into each other in a shopping mall and by coincidence, meet again in Weegee's Café where Kate works as a waitress. When Brendan's eating his meal, he overhears two men at a nearby table discussing their plan to visit Finney to threaten him or even possibly kill him. Brendan arranges to meet Kate after she finishes work and they go to Hopper's Bar together. Brendan tells Finney what he overheard at Weegee's and so, when two vicious thugs visit the club owner and begin to threaten him, the way that he deals with the situation comes as a major surprise to them and also acts as a form of education for the naïve Brendan. Brendan and Kate fall in love and find themselves caught up in the middle of the struggle between Cosmo and Finney which inevitably ends in further violence and tragedy.

The exquisite visual style of this movie with its noirish lighting etc contributes significantly to its mood which is often melancholic, unsettling and haunting and many of the shots are beautifully set up. One such example is the view through the window of Hopper's Bar at about closing time which is strongly evocative of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" (1942). The presence of a café that's decorated with pictures by tabloid photographer Arthur "Weegee" Fellig is also inspired as it adds character to the place and acknowledges the talent of the man who provided the inspiration for Joe Pesci's character in "The Public Eye" (1992).

Some fine performances ensure that all four of the main characters in "Stormy Monday" make a strong impression. Cosmo is actually a gangster involved in a money-laundering exercise and Tommy Lee Jones is convincingly ruthless as the forceful criminal who totally underestimates Finney. Sting is suitably low-key in his portrayal of the laconic club owner and Sean Bean makes the unassuming Brendan a likable person with a lot to learn. Kate is deeply troubled, doesn't sleep well and wants to get away from her past. Melanie Griffith does extraordinarily well in this role projecting Kate's unusual mixture of toughness and vulnerability in a way that's both powerful and sympathetic.

Bizarrely, for reasons explained in the story, an avant-garde group of Polish musicians called "The Krakow Jazz Ensemble" find themselves featured in the America Week celebrations. They provide some of the film's most humorous moments which ironically add to the poignancy of what happens in the movie's climax. More predictably though, the Otis Redding and B.B.King tracks featured are sensational and a perfect fit for this immensely enjoyable romantic thriller.
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8/10
seen several times
fredpalm20 December 2006
i only wanted to respond to the one review about the jazz score. stormy Monday was t-bone walker's big hit. bb king recorded it among others. so figges' film was noir blues and r&b based. this while i wait for mark twain audio book to download. but a great film. ah i now realize that i must write more. Griffith's is great here. sting does a good job. but what is very interesting is figges moves. now i do not know what he did before, but this definitely foreshadows las vegas with cage who has gone on to make fine movies with no soul. but las vegas was incredibly dark and sad. anyway Monday could well be an elmore leonard crime novel/screenplay set in england. but really i only wanted to reply about the musical component. now i have 10 lines.
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1/10
It doesn't know what it wants to be..
adonis98-743-1865038 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A crooked American businessman tries to push the shady influential owner of a nightclub in Newcastle, England to sell him the club. The club's new employee and the American's ex lover fall in love and inadvertently stir the pot. Stormy Monday (1988) is one of those films that it does have it's fans unfortunately that isn't enough for me. The acting was mediocre at best especially Melanie Griffith was the worst part of the entire movie her voice sounded like she was trying to hard something that her daughter also has. Tommy Lee Jones was also not that good i just didn't buy him at all as Cosmo. The soundtrack got on my nerves after a while and the film doesn't know what it wants to be is it a Noir? a Romance or a Drama? It doesn't know and i don't think that the director knew either plus the ending was very quick and felt like there was more to it but honestly nothing could save this in general from being actually good. (0/10)
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