Recently I went to the BFI (British Film Institute) Mediatheque in Newcastle upon Tyne, not far from the WhatCulture! head office. Inside the old building of the Discovery Museum where the Mediatheque is located, I found a small dimly lit art-deco room, and was able to choose from a huge selection of British films available to view for free from the BFI archives and collections. Browsing through the list of clips, scenes, shorts and films, I stopped and chose one immediately. Stormy Monday.
Stormy Monday is a 1988 British romantic thriller, the feature-film directorial debut of Mike Figgis, who went on to direct the Oscar-winning Leaving Las Vegas in 1995. Figgis creates a special atmosphere within Stormy Monday, framing a young Sean Bean alongside Melanie Griffith at the height of her career. The story revolves around Bean’s character Brendan, as he is drawn in unknowingly to the criminal underworld of Tyneside. The international implications of the story brings Griffith’s character to him; along with a solid performance by Tommy Lee Jones, and an even more notable role from musician-turned-actor Sting.
Now for readers who aren’t from the North East of England, or even from Britain, then I’ll explain that a Geordie is the name given to somebody from Tyneside. Having spent my life living in Tyneside, I can just about lay claim to being a Geordie. Some may disagree. The title of Geordie has to have certain co-requisites. I just about have a Geordie accent. Maybe not. It doesn’t come through in my writing, not many accents do. Ant & Dec are Geordies. Cheryl Cole too. Comedian Sarah Millican is one. MTV’s Geordie Shore is based in the region. Retired Footballer Alan Shearer is perhaps the most famous Geordie in the world. Basically, Geordies belong in Tyneside, are welcomed by those in Newcastle, and are generally representative (omit some above) of the North East of England and Newcastle upon Tyne. Stormy Monday is most definitely a Geordie Film.
There are numerous films which find their origins in the North East of England, and the film industry in general has to thank the region for producing some big names. Ridley Scott, creator of well-known and successful works including Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Prometheus; is from Tyneside. His late brother, Tony Scott, also from Tyneside, directed popular films Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Déjà Vu among others. Stan Laurel, of legendary comic double act Laurel & Hardy, spent his formative years on Tyneside. Films set and filmed in Newcastle upon Tyne include the well-known Billy Elliott, whilst Goal! and Purely Belter are also notable North East based British productions. The most iconic and popular representation of Tyneside on screen is Michael Caine’s 1971 film Get Carter. The gangster film is considered one of the greatest of all time, and features Newcastle prominently.
However, all of these films can not be labelled the best Geordie film. Though the list above can be argued to have some excellent titles, and certainly influences from the region; none have represented Newcastle in such great a way like Stormy Monday.
Here are 5 Ways Stormy Monday Is The Best Geordie Film (And A Great British One)…
This article was first posted on November 20, 2013