Music in films, like music in shopping malls, lifts and hotel toilets, is rarely there for its own sake. More often, it is there to get you through something without noticing it too much. So, it's hard not to love a film that not only plays you the whole of Otis Redding's I've Been Loving You Too Long, but actually makes the characters stop talking so you can hear it. «I've always thought that it was the use of music in a film that finally gives it its flavour,» says Figgis. Even the title comes from a song, which Figgis persuaded US soul legend BB King to record especially for the film.
Set in the north-east UK port and industrial city of Newcastle, Stormy Monday is a thriller and love story which stars Melanie Griffith, Tommy Lee Jones and Sting. Stylish and extremely striking to look at, thanks to Roger Deakins' distinctly colour co-ordinated cinematography, the film has a quartet of great performances which, together with the look and the music, carry the whole thing through. It is one of the great cliches of the modern movie business to say that a film is 'not about special effects, it's about its characters'. But with Stormy Monday, it is the characters who really carry the film. (Screen International, 16.5.1988)
Melanie Griffith, Tommy Lee Jones, Sting