Review: Stormy Monday

Blu-ray & DVD: Stormy Monday (1988)

Brendan (Sean Bean) is a young loner looking for work and a chance to earn an honest day’s pay. He happens to walk into a jazz club run by Finney, (Sting) who quickly takes a shine to Brendan offering him the opportunity to be more than just a cleaner. During a chance meeting Brendan bumps into Kate, (Melanie Griffith) and it isn’t long before they start to fall for one another. Meanwhile, Texan tycoon and generally shady character Cosmo, (Tommy Lee Jones) comes to town to make a financial killing, which involves putting the screw to Finney. Adding another twist of fate, Kate works for Cosmo, but will her growing love for Brendan get in the way of her loyalty to Cosmo?

I’d never seen Stormy Monday before and I have to say that I really enjoyed it! It is essentially a love story between Brendan and Kate, tied together with a web of deceit, murder and corruption. Although it is set in Newcastle and has gangster elements, it isn’t as gritty as other movies from that era, such as Get Carter and The Long Good Friday, as it features its own distinct style and flair.

Director Mike Figgis and legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins created a visual treat, and Stormy Monday is a great looking movie! There is a dreamlike look to the film and the neon lights give things an almost futuristic quality. Despite having only a relatively small budget to work with, it’s testament to Figgis and Deakins that the movie still holds up some 30 years after its original release.

Figgis, who also wrote the script, created the music for Stormy Monday, and his love of jazz comes shining through the whole film.   I’m not a massive jazz fan, especially Polish free jazz which features heavily, but I can totally appreciate how it adds to the overall tone of the movie. As you would imagine having Sting involved in the film, he also features with the musical score.

The acting throughout is great, featuring a cast of excellent British talent, as well as some nice performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Melanie Griffith. I was particularly impressed with Sting, who feels completely at home playing the role of Finney. One of the many pleasures of the movie was seeing such a fresh faced cast, which had me pining for the 80’s. If that doesn’t sell it to you then I’m sure the sight of Sean Bean’s young naked pert bottom will send some into a wild frenzy!

The audio commentary featuring Mike Figgis is very informative, and I particularly enjoyed hearing anecdotes about how Tommy Lee Jones is as scary and intimidating in real life, as he is often portrayed on the big screen.

Stormy Monday was the directorial debut from Mike Figgis, and in many ways was a calling card for Hollywood. He would follow it up two years later with the excellent Internal Affairs and later be Oscar nominated for Leaving Las Vegas. If like me you were more familiar with those movies, now is a great chance to see where it all started for a director with a long and illustrious career.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original stereo audio (uncompressed on the Blu-ray Disc)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing Audio commentary with Mike Figgis, moderated by critic Damon Wise
  • New video appreciation by critic Neil Young, and a “then and now” tour of the film’s Newcastle locations
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacey

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring new writing by critic Mark Cunliffe.

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Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.