Sting returns to his roots in the stylish 1988 British film noir Stormy Monday. Set and filmed in his hometown of Newcastle, Sting unearths his native Geordie accent to play the jazz-club owner Finney in a coolly restrained performance that many consider his finest.
It’s America Week in Stormy Monday’s Newcastle, and garish stars-and-stripes imagery has invaded Tyneside under the orchestration of exploitative American businessman Frank Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones). While Finney tries to fight off Cosmo’s corrupt manipulations to acquire and redevelop his property, an intertwining underdog love affair develops between Finney’s janitor, Brendan (Sean Bean) and a downtrodden American "associate" of Cosmo’s named Kate (Melanie Griffith, in her trademark role as a streetwise coquette).
Sting was not the only Newcastle native involved in Stormy Monday.
The picture marked the feature-film directorial debut of Mike Figgis, a fellow Geordie who also shares with Sting a musical past. Figgis, who penned Stormy Monday’s moody jazz score along with its script, used to play with Bryan Ferry in a local Newcastle band called the Gas Board, which performed in some of the same venues as the pre-Police Sting. Indeed, Stormy Monday offers its share of aural pleasures to accent the widely praised visual style created by Figgis and cinematographer Roger Deakins. The Krakow Jazz Ensemble lend a light-hearted touch throughout the movie and Finney, in a lonely moment on stage, fingers a sensuous bass solo to his otherwise empty club.
Atlantic Entertainment Group, British Screen,
Film Four International (UK)
Directed by: Mike Figgis
Produced by: Nigel Stafford-Clark (Moving Picture Company)
Written by: Mike Figgis
|Cosmo||Tommy Lee Jones|
|Finney's Secretary||Caroline Hutchinson|
|Cosmo's Secretary||Catherine Chevalier|
|Cosmo's Bodyguard||Clive Curtis|
|Counciller Perry||Roderic Leigh|
|Finney's Woman||Louise Hoskinson|
|Mrs. Finney||Prunella Gee|
|The Krakow Jazz||Charlie Hart|
|Art Direction||Chairman Adams|
|Production Design||Andrew McAlpine|
|Costume Design||Sandy Powell|