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An american oil company sends a man to scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things dont go as expected. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 08/03/2004 Starring: Burt Lancaster Fulton Mackay Run time: 111 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Bill Forsyth
When Mac MacIntyre (played with deadpan perfection by Peter Riegert) is sent by his star-gazing, slightly insane Knox Oil and Gas boss (Burt Lancaster) to Scotland's West Coast to buy the rights to a seaside town slated to be the site of an oil refinery, Mac embarks on his journey reluctantly. "Why do I have to go to all the way to Scotland?" Mac complains to a coworker. "I'm really more of a Telex man." But on the way to closing the deal, a funny thing happens: the place takes root in Mac. The town's eccentric inhabitants, eventful night sky, and stunning scenery soak into his psyche and combine to bring a very different Mac to the surface, a Mac who collects seashells, walks on the beach in his jeans instead of his suit, and throws his calendar watch, beeping "meeting time in Houston," into the sea.
Mac eventually vies to switch places with Gordon Urquhart--accountant, bartender, innkeeper, and community representative in the land deal. After an evening spent drinking 42-year-old scotch ("old enough to be out on its own," Mac chirps, and then laughs smugly at his own joke) and negotiating the real estate deal, Mac tries to negotiate a deal for himself--to trade his high-rise Houston apartment, Porsche, and oil-company job for Urquhart's less traditional, but more fulfilling, life.
The plot runs along almost as if behind the scenes, and the characters are intriguing, but the real appeal here is the incisive yet gentle humor. During a visit to a Knox Oil lab, Mac is shown into a room that contains a miniature of the town he has been sent to purchase. The head of the lab says, "Welcome to our little world," and then gives Mac the plastic replica of the town as a souvenir. "Dream large," he intones. The irony's easy to miss and is just one example of the intelligent presence--in the form of writer and director Bill Forsyth--working behind the scenes here.
Mark Knopfler's delicate, haunting soundtrack complements the sometimes melancholy, sometimes hilarious currents of Local Hero to perfection. --Stefanie Durbin
- A Heroic film experience - french new wave meets burges
Today's newest filmaking savant is Wes Anderson who pays an awful lot of homage to the French New Wave and 1970's American film wave that brought you Harold and Maude. I've often wondered if or why 'Local Hero' is never mentioned in his list of formative film experiences.
This gentle, wistful, whimsical comedy is never anything but subdued and perfect-pitch. Comedies today have become so broad (zoolander) or over the top (something about mary) or stylized (coen brothers) that a more restrained eye I fear suffers. The aforementioned all please and are a cut above the rest, but what makes 'Local Hero' so different and beguiling is how it builds slowly not resorting to contrivances to do so. This picture, site and sound, feels organic.
In life it usually follows that the reward is always in the journey; something that is usually only evident in hindsight. And so it goes with LOCAL HERO. The story follows a Texas oil executive, Mac (the always great Peter Reigert at his best) who is sent by his irreverent, eccentric-bordering-on-sociopathic Boss, Mr. Happer (Burt Lancaster), to a Scottish coast town to purchase the land to locate an oil refinery on the basis that he's Scottish. The irony is that Mac is not actually Scottish (his last name assumed when his parents entered the country) and a product of assimilation and rootlessness in his sense of community.
Upon arriving, the town slowly slips under his skin and he begins a slow transformation. The land is something untouched by the modern world, almost primal in its beauty. The people, hard working and eccentric. The catch is that they have their own plan: a poker game, as the head negotiator (Ewan Macgregor's uncle) puts it, to become "bloody stinking rich" off of the Yanks through the sale of their town and surrounding land.
As both sides play out their hands, fate steps in, with Mac, almost in the middle, caught up in trying to do his job and secretly longing to stay (There's a really poignant scene where he pitches switching lives with the local Accountant/Inn Keeper).
Ultimately, the movie helps remind us of how we quickly forget very simple pleasures. The dialogue is smart, terrific really, it's message sweet and sad and the interactions quirky without feeling forced. This is the independent cinema should be....more info
- You can go home again.
A very charming movie that bears up well under repeated viewings. Bill Forsyth has done so many good movies over the years, but I think this remains his best. Certainly, it is the closest to home, as he beautifully plays off the American-Scotland theme and the sense of misplaced identity.
Peter Riegert is great as Mac, a representative of a large Houston oil company who has been chosen to close a deal on a harbor village in the north of Scotland, because of his presumed Scottish ancestry. Turns out Mac is of Hungarian, not Scottish descent, as his parents thought MacIntyre was an American name. Nevertheless, Mac soon finds himself adapting to the rugged North Sea coast, picking seashells from the tidal pools and adopting a rabbit his driver had inadvertantly hit on the road.
Forsyth introduces the viewer to a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters in the small village, led by the amicable Gordon Urquhart, mayor, innkeeper, accountant and jack of all trades. Mac finds himself falling in love with Gordon's wife, but the playful romance is treated more in jest than in an attempt to foil the plot. It is in a grizzled beachcomber that we find the perfect foil to the land deal, which eventually brings the head of the oil commpany, Mr. Knox (played to perfection by Burt Lancaster) to Scotland.
You will fall in love with this movie, as I did, carried along by its charm and beautifully poignant moments. Forsyth doesn't miss a beat in this playful movie....more info
- the sleeper!
THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMS OF THE 80'S.ITS A QUIRKLY LITTLE GEM OF A FILM.I TEND TO LOOK FOR MORE OFFBEAT AND MORE INDEPENDENT
FILMS ANYWAY.BURT LANCASTER IS REALLY GREAT IN HERE.I ALWAYS FELT
HE WAS UNDER RATED AND HE MADE SO MANY REALLY GREAT FILMS.FROM 'THE KILLERS' A TERRIFIC FILM NOIR TO 'FIELD OF DREAMS'.THE DIRECTOR OF THIS FILM ALSO MADE 'GREGORY'S GIRL' AND 'HOUSKEEPING'BUT I HAVE'NT
SEEN ANYTHING OF HIS IN QUITE AWHILE.ANYWAY BUY THIS DVD IT'S A GOOD DATE FILM AND IT'S FUNNY AND CHARMING WITHOUT BEING DUMB WHICH IS RARE TO SEE THESE DAYS....more info
- a handful of sand
This is a movie for people who love quirky stories, for those who never missed an episode of Northern Exposure; also, anyone who has ever lived in a small town. All of the characters seem familiar because they are; you know every one of them, from the strange leather-clad girl with the spiked hair to the affable old guy living in a slapped-together hut on the beach.
Enter into this idyllic, slow-paced life a young go-getter from America, Mac Macintyre, sent in to buy out the town by his eccentric oil-baron boss (the boss played with over-the-top aplomb by Burt Lancaster). It is figured, rightly as it turns out, that the locals' heads will be turned at the prospect of becoming rich, with no thought to how it will upend their lives. The one person canny enough to have it all figured out is the one cog in the wheel of progress, the old coot ensconced on prime beach front whose family has been there for 400 years and who has no intention of selling out. In the end, he has educated his fellow citizens as well as the oil-company boss.
Peter Riegert, who plays the go-between initially setting up the deal, is the perfect city boy who becomes enamoured of that which he is assigned to destroy. At first glance, he sees nothing worth saving in the little backwater town he's sent to buy out; over time, the town, and its inhabitants, become his world, his most treasured keepsakes upon returning home a pocketful of seashells and a few photos of the townsfolk.
I first saw this movie almost 20 years ago, in a place about as remote from Scotland as you can get, and felt as though I was there walking on the beach and in the story with the characters. As Mac's assistant Oldsen, Peter Capaldi affected me, with his gawky run and his infatuation with the mysterious scientist/undersea girl Marina,in a subplot that seems to address the old legend of the silkies - maidens on the shore, seals in the water - and their magical hold on men.
A charmer of a movie, made to be appreciated by those who enjoy quiet, funny personality studies.
- save your money
After reading all the 5 star reviews, I bought this for my movie buff daughter but then decided to watch it before giving it to her. I'm glad I did. Lame is the first word that comes to mind. I can't see what all the other reviewers are talking about. The acting is mediocre, the story not that original. The characters that are meant to be memorable are just silly and many of the actors seems to be trying too hard. Save your money....or watch it somewhere first and be sure you want to spend it on this. I can think of plenty of other movies I would rather have. ...more info
- "More of a telex man."
Minor masterpiece from Bill Forsyth involving the attempt by a Texas oil corporation to quite literally buy a small seaside Scottish hamlet. The idea is to relocate the town and put a gigantic oil refinery in its place. The only impediment is that, according to a member of the board, "This isn't the Third World" -- meaning, someone skilled at negotiating needs to be sent over there to iron out the details of the deal and be diplomatic, generally speaking. Enter Peter Riegert as MacIntyre, a junior-level exec selected primarily because of his name (his superiors think he's Scottish). He's reluctant to make the trip, grousing that he's "more of a telex man" and can seal the deal over the phone, until the corporation's president and amateur astronomer (Burt Lancaster at his most ingratiating) takes an interest and asks Mac to report on the stars, the sky, anything unusual up there. ("I want reports, MacIntyre!" he exclaims.) On route to the village, Mac picks up a colleague from the English branch of the company. And so they arrive, dressed in their tailored suits and beeping wristwatches, seeking adaptors for their re-chargeable briefcases. From there, the movie traces the gradual erosion, effected by the village and its people, of the pair's corporate shells: Mac literally loses the beeping watch, leaves the suits in the closet in favor of rumpled sweaters, neglects to shave, collects seashells, drinks 40-year-old Scotch with the local innkeeper / accountant / bartender / chef / unelected town mayor (and gets a crush on his pretty wife), all the while delivering reports on the Northern Lights to Lancaster back in Texas via a bright red phone box. Meanwhile, his British colleague wades into the sea in pursuit of a lovely marine biologist (replete with webbed feet, bringing to mind the mermaid legend) who's studying the area. Clearly, the place is magical, and it literally charms the interlopers to the point that, by movie's end, they are "telex men" no longer. *Local Hero* also charms us. If nothing else, it constitutes the dream European vacation that Americans fantasize about. Ironically, that's because Forsyth doesn't cram the gorgeous scenery (or overly cute local yokels, for that matter) down our throats: like Akira Kurosawa in *Dersu Uzala*, he gives us a characters'-eye view of the terrain, which puts us right there without the help of authorial comment. The same can be said for the movie's themes: the inherently pro-environmental bias is beautifully stated by the scenery and the changes within the characters. No oratory required....more info
- Great movie - so, so DVD
This is a funny, quirky comedy with a great cast, great characters, and beautiful views of Scotland. If you are too young to remember Burt Lancester, he is totally out of character in this film and he is great. Peter Riegert is gorgeous and does wonders as the Houston oil-man slowly being transformed by this little Scottish community. A shot of the oil men striding across the beach in full business uniform, briefcase in hand is contrasted nicely with a later scene of Riegert strolling with his pants legs rolled up and his expensive watch forgotten in incoming tide. The timeless wonder of this movie is aptly descibed in many other reviews. I mainly wanted to comment on my disappointment in the quality of the DVD. With a Mono soundtrack and 4-to-3 TV-quality views it could have been much better done. What happened to the original film?...more info
- great movie, poor value as a dvd
This is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. I'm not going to add to what others have said in that regard.
But as a dvd, it is pretty poor value. The transfer is downright appalling. Grainy. Soft focus. Sound that is generally dull and lifeless. No special features or commentary.
So three stars for content alone. I still love this flick. But the studio is not doing right by consumers with this digital version. Possibly the worst I've ever seen....more info
- You Can't Eat Scenery
This little-known cult hit from the early 1980's is an excellent play on culture clash, a fish-out-of-water comedy, and a good look at how many ordinary people of all stations want to be something other than what they are. It's funny and touching without being goofy or maudlin. And it's just gobs of fun to watch.
The plot is basic. Fast-track Texas oil executive Mac MacIntyre (Peter Reigert) works for Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster), a low rent H.L. Hunt. When Happer's company needs to buy out control of a bay to build a refinery and shipping platform for his North Sea drilling operations, he dispatches Mac to a small fishing village in northern Scotland to buy the whole place out. Accompanied by local contact Oldsen (Peter Capaldi), he begins the buying process through local accountant/hotelier/cabbie Urquhart (Denis Lawson), and suddenly a village of working-class Scots thinks they're going to get rich. But the process is jeapordized when one recalcitrant eccentric refuses to sell.
This is a character comedy, as the differing expectations of the characters come head to head and we realize somebody's going to lose it all. Urquhart and the locals, sick of working life in the forgotten north, are hungry to cash in on the oil offer and have so many pound notes they can blow their noses on them. But Mac, used to the fast-paced life of an urban yuppie, falls in love with the village, the life, and Urquhart's wife. And Happer, who is obsessed with memorializing himself by discovering a new stellar object, eventually falls in love with the unblemished night sky and the clear view of the Aurora Borealis.
Mac falls in love with a way of life he is required to destroy. The locals long for money without realizing they must sacrifice their sense of place. The characters are all doomed, no matter what; their wants and their needs are ultimately incompatible. And in spite of this dour world view, believe it or not, this is a comedy. And it's really, really funny.
The humor is based on interactions of character and the clash of culture. There are precious few actual jokes in the film. If you think sitcoms are funny you probably won't care for this film. But for the committed viewer who is willing to invest in the film, there are rewards far beyond the goofiness of the situation.
The film isn't perfect. It's pretty much an all-boy production; there are only three women with speaking parts, and all of them are defined not by themselves but by their relationships to the men. The soundtrack by Mark Knopfler, though popular, is dated and can sometimes be distracting. And as for the DVD packaging, the only added feature to be had is the original theatrical trailer, which appears to have been directed by somebody who never saw the movie.
But these are quibbles in the face of this complex, thoughtful, funny film. If you are interested in Scotland, or culture clash, or just a comic film that doesn't talk down to you, this is your DVD. Funny enough to hook you and subtle enough to reward multiple viewings, this is a disc that will enjoy a treasured place in your collection well into the future....more info
- Wonderful feel good film
I just discovered this film and it's brilliant. A fantastic cast. I really enjoyed Denis Lawson's Gordon and Peter Capaldi's Danny. It's a film filled with colourful characters and beautiful scenery. A definite must see. ...more info
- Subtle, Moving Film
Mac (Peter Riegert) works in Knox Oil's department of acquisitions; acquisition is what McIntyre knows and it's what he does, down to the high rise condo and Porsche 930. The plot and character development of the film pose acquisitive materialism against simple human pleasures. No, the people of the little Scottish village Mac is sent to acquire can't spend their time taking long walks on the beach like Mac does while he's there---as Russian fisherman Victor points out, life is hard for them and they work hard to live. And yet the film suggests that for all their disadvantages and hardships the people of the village where Knox Oil wants its newest terminal lead a much healthier kind of life than the complex, hurried, materialistic life people like Mac lead in Houston. That this may be an ambiguous point seems belied by the last words of the Knox Oil promo film shown at a Houston board meeting in the movie's beginning: "time is running out." The promo film refers to finding/extracting big oil deposits, but the double meaning is clear.
Mark Knopfler's score for this film is a master stroke. It captures the scenic beauty, reflects the spirit of the local people, and emphasizes the haunting sweetness of Mac's transition from "telex man" (he'd have a Blackberry now) to one who is blown away by scallop shells, the northern lights, and a soulful woman. When the theme song slowly stirs in the film's final scenes---an impressive but siren-filled Houston panorama that segues to the tiny Scottish wharf with its ringing phone booth---it's hard not to feel the loss and displacement Mac feels. Yet that ringing phone and Knopfler's Hero theme convey a sense of hope too.
As many others have said here, this is a film that must be watched repeatedly. Beautiful, beautiful film....more info
- Local Hero -- Next generation?
I see that Amazon is temporarity out of stock and hope the ratings will tell the industry to fix up the next iteration for us Local-Hero-phyles. I've only seen it on square-TV and can't imagine the impact of the fog, the coast, and the lights on full screen. I've only heard the transistor radio sound quality. Still, I rent this every four years or so, just to see if the deep gut chuckles are still there-- and they are. There will always be the divide between the five and the one-star reviews for any film, but I'm reassured by the ratio on the bar chart here....more info
- After 20+ years, never fails to make me smile
Like some of the other reviewers, when this movie came out I was fresh out of college with that misguided sense of ambition that characterized our generation. We were supposed to admire and emulate people like MacIntyre, the stereotype 80s corporate over-achiever, although like him, many of us also figured out that there were more important things in life. However, this is one of my very favorite movies for several reasons beyond the generational aspect: the dry Gaelic wit, the understated performances, the breathtaking landscapes, etc. all factor into it, but what puts it over the top for me is that it is an unequivocally hopeful story. No matter how many times I've watched it, when the phone rings in the last scene, I'm left with a warm heart and a smile on my face.
One parting shot: in a way, I was surprised (and dismayed) to discover that Al Gore cites it as one of his favorite movies. The environmental message in this story is made gently, a seamless part of the story quite the opposite of the heavy-handed approach of Gore and company. I wonder if he learned that this method works infintely better than scare tactics and scolding, but the skeptic in me doubts it. Fortunately the idealist in me enjoys this story too much to be bothered and is waiting for the day when I can travel the out-of-the-way corners of Scotland, perhaps finding a MacIntyre tending the bar in my little hotel....more info
- A Dangerous Movie
If you're at all impressionable, and if you've ever felt that there's got to be something more to life than shopping malls and SUV's, then it may be safest if you avoid watching this movie.
I saw Local Hero when it came out in '83, and within 2 years I was living in a village on the North Sea coast of a small European country (not Scotland, as in the movie, but very similar in the most important ways).
I'm still here.
You have been warned....more info
- You'll wish you were there
This is a great little movie with a supurb cast. Additionally, the filming is beautiful. Good for people of all ages, with some sexual innuendo, but no violence or language. I would see it again and again and I have recommended it to friends....more info
- One of the best ever
This movie is fantastic. It is a must-own. I've watched it
over and over again - a great story, funny, intelligent, and
the scenery is breathtaking. It is not a "big" movie, but
it is a wonderful place to visit....more info
- A brilliant, flawless gem
As close to perfect as any movie i've ever seen, funny, absurd, winsome, and with real warmth throughout. Be warned: if you don't have a taste for the absurd, you're not going to like this. But if you're looking for some real magic on the screen, give it a try and you'll find yourself watching it over again and thinking about it even more.
It's sad that Forsyth was never quite able to build on this and his successor (which i loved), Housekeeping. At his peak, there wasn't much of an alternative to the big studios, but they could never really find much use for him. If he were making films today, he'd be an indie king like Alexander Payne -- making small, gentle, brilliant movies with little interference from the suits....more info
- Comfort for the Scottish sole
As the wife of a native Scotsman, my observations of him watching this film, are equal to that of a person thoroughly enjoying the BEST comfort food available. The views of the Scottish landscape have stirred many memories of his yesteryear "home". Thanks for making this fine film available....more info
- A charmer of a movie!
I've loved this movie ever since seeing it on VHS video 20 years ago! The cute townspeople, the obnoxious psychiatrist, Riegert's deadpan mien throughout the whole movie and that gorgeous Scottish coastline....this is a movie hard NOT to love! Peter Riegert, a former member of a comedy troupe called "War Babies" that used to perform in midtown Manhattan, stars in this movie along with Burt Lancaster and Denis Lawson about an oil company middle-management type sent to Scotland to finalize a deal for a stretch of shoreline to be used for drilling and oil refinery.
However, when Riegert's character, "Mac" MacIntyre, settles into the village, he falls in love with it...with the quirkiness of the local personalities, with the pristineness of the countryside, with the women, (one inparticular, that is, unfortunately, taken,) and the very active sky, a sky full of meteor showers, aurora borealises and other phenomena not common to North America.
Among those supporting Riegert is the legendary Burt Lancaster as his big boss, Felix Happer, head of Knox Oil Corp., Mac's employer. This was one of Lancaster's last movies, and it was very special. Lancaster doesn't have a LOT of screen time, but what he does have tells us that he's a bit eccentric himself, being fond of astronomy and taking part in some unusual therapy mapped out by a comically obnoxious character named Moritz. Also supporting Riegert is Peter Capaldi, portraying a ver-r-r-r-ry Scottish lad with a Scandinavian last name, Danny Olsen. Capaldi himself is obviously of celtic upbringing, but possesses an ITALIAN surname! Go figure! Capaldi's natural callowness works well for his character. Jenny Seagrove plays the object of his affection, an elfin marine biologist with an ENORMOUS head! Both of the main ladies of the film, Stella, the deal go-between's wife, and Marina, the marine biologist, are charming, gamin-like personages and they enrich the production with their presence.
Denis Lawson plays Gordon Urquhardt, the hotelier/cab driver/accountant/deal-maker who handles the Knox Oil deal for the village. Lawson plays him as a cagy native who obviously smells the gajillions Knox has in its deep pockets and haggles throughout the whole movie to get more out of Mac as he plies him with truly ancient whisky. He and his wife, Stella, can't keep their hands off each other, either.
Various extras in the movie add to the charm this film has, with its gentle snatches of village behavior after it's revealed that an American's arrived to make them all millionaires. One old fella paints the name "The Silver Dollar" on the side of his boat as two friends kibitz: "Are ya sure there're two 'L's' in 'dollar'?" Old guy: "Yeah! And now there's two 'G's' in 'BUGGER OFF!'"
Bill Forsyth has a real touch as a director of small comedies, which this film attests to. Though I've seen "Gregory's Girl", it didn't do much for me, but somebody younger might like it. THIS film, however, is a gem that everybody should see.
Recommended and a half!...more info
- One of my all-time favorites!
I am dating myself woefully, but I remember seeing this film when it came out in theatres. I trekked some distance (via bus) down to some theatre in Hollywood (I'm from another part of L.A.) because it wasn't showing anywhere nearby. I wanted to see it *that* bad. And I certainly wasn't disappointed.
When I finally got a DVD player, one of the first DVDs I got was "Local Hero". It's definitely on my "must-have" list.
The story is simple -- materialistic Peter Reigert is sent to a small Scottish village to try to negotiate a land deal for his rich, eccentric boss (Burt Lancaster, who is outstanding). He arrives in Scotland as a guy who is only obsessed with business deals, his car, and his posessions back in Texas, but soon he learns there are more important things in life. The townsfolk are absolutely wonderful, all in their own unique, eclectic way. Denis Lawson particularly shines as "jack of all trades" who holds several positions in the community, including innkeeper.
The oddness and beauty of this film takes time to unfold, and it is best just to sit back and watch it happen. Everyone seems to have a story, everyone is eccentric in some way. I especially loved Burt Lancaster and his interaction with his "therapist", who takes the job *far* too seriously. Lancaster plays one of the most likeable and unique characters onscreen. Reigert too, is endearing. He so wants to be "normal" that he can't even admit that he might use a shampoo for dry or greasy hair. "Normal. EXTRA normal.", he says, when asked what kind of shampoo he needs. What an uptight guy he seems at first, but he soon mends his ways.
The score by Mark Knopfler is among one of my favorites too. I can play it and it brings back the whole atmosphere and mood of this film. The musical piece played at the end of the movie is heart-wrenching and brings back the sweetness of the end of this fine movie every time I hear it.
Director Bill Forsythe created an absolute gem in this movie. A must-have in *every* film collection. Absolutely first-rate....more info
- Very disappointing
This movie was hyped-up to be something almost cult-like and very funny. I found it flat and painfully slow. The acting and story-line was very lacking. Some scenery was very pretty, but overall, one was just waiting for something interesting to happen, but it never did. One big *thud*....more info
- Mixed reviews
Lent this to a friend, and she said after watching it, "What was that about?" It hit me on the deepest level, but apparently the eye of the beholder has much to do about how one enjoys this. This is one of my favorite films, but the DVD is a pretty poor transfer. The late scene where the female biologist/geologist departs is nearly invisible. Still, the sense of finding something one didn't even know they wanted, then losing it, is the heartbreaking conclusion of this extremely funny film....more info
- Scotch Whimsy
"Local Hero" is a sweet film that falls short of greatness through overlength and a self-consious cutesiness. The story is a good one. An Texas oil acquisitions man named MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) goes to Scotland to purchase unspoiled coastal land from the populace and they want to sell! This is more of a character piece and there's plenty of good ones. Burt Lancaster delivers another classic performance as Felix Happer, the stargazing petroleum company president who subjects himself to abuse therapy to keep his ego in check. I was also enchanted by Jenny Seagrove as the amphibious marine biologist. Director Bill Forsythe introduces to many cute elements that detract from the film most notably an African town minister and a lovable Russian fisherman(this came out during the Cold War) with an affinity for cowboy songs. The film is sumptuously photographed by Chris Menges who later won Oscars for "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission". Charmer that just falls a wee bit short. ...more info
- A Balm for the Soul
I am not one who watches movies on a regular basis. I far prefer the peace of the uninhabited mountains. Unfortunately I have to spend some time in the insanity of American civilization. Therefore it is somewhat inexplicable that this movie, starting in the chaos of Huston and dealing with Big Oil, should be the one I watch when I need something to sooth my soul. I have watched it far more than any other movie and it still works its gentle, peaceful magic....more info
- Some tips for watching
I was living just north of where most of the film was shot at the time. The coast is just south of a village called Mallaig-- access to the beach belonged to a friend of ours-- near Morar. The early scene where the fog lifts shows Loch Morar and Middle Island in the background where we used to take our little boat out and camp in the summer. You can see Eigg, Rhum, and Canna when they look out to sea.The hotel scenes were shot inside the Lochailort Inn. The church was actually just constructed for the film and is not the one on the way betwen Arisaig and Lochailort, although a million people have taken photos of that church for that reason. The exterior village scenes are not Arisaig-- it's a small village over on the east coast. There was no hidden meaning to the jets flying over-- they just kept interrupting the filming so they decided to leave them in.I'm in Canada now and get misty-eyed whenever I watch this wonderful film from Scotland. ...more info
- Local Hero
Bursting with unique personality and charm, "Hero" is a touching fable about finding magic in the everyday business of living. Riegert is spot-on as Mac, a man who thinks he understands his place in the world and then gets gradually transformed by a special time and place. The larger-than-life Lancaster is worth the wait, dominating the film's later scenes as star-struck Happer. A movie with heart and spirit, that sneaks up on you....more info
- Al Gore's favorite!
Now that doesn't sound like a glowing recommendation necessarily, and I don't think it helped DVD sales during the 2000 campaign any more Dukakis helped MY DINNER WITH ANDRE (his favorite.) But I must say that I agree with Al on this one. From Mark Knopfler's moody soundtrack to the uncommonly well-rounded characters, LOCAL HERO is a jewel of a movie, depicting an oil man's trip to an eccentric Scottish village, while attempting to buy the place for a future refinery. He grows to love the town, while the villagers are secretly dying to sell the place. The irony is charming, and never heavy-handed. The comedy and subtle and patient. And the landscapes are as inviting as advertised. The end effect is a rare thing in this day and age: a comedy that's actually intelligent, calm, and pleasant. Al Gore may have lost the recount--but he's got an unexpected eye for cinema....more info
- Roles reversed
My history with this film is rather bizarre. My father was an American oilman who married a Scottish woman (East coast though), but were in New Orleans at the time it was released. And also as a Scot I now find myself in Texas. This film and are inextricably linked somehow reflecting both sides of my family.
For the actual description of the film and the soundtrack there's little if any i can say that hasn't be said already. Other than that having a family that represents both sides of the divide, it holds special meaning for me....more info
- One of the Greatest... Ever
Everyone else has written about the plot in it's entirety, so all i will add is that this film is so warm, sweet, magical, ethereal, but in a completely adult way. Every quirky Scots caharacter is memorable, and who wouldn't fall for Stella? I've seen this maybe 20 times now, and it's always wonderful. I would say some of the Knox Oil HQ scenes in Texas haven't dated as well, but from the moment Mac and Olsen wake up on the highlands road heading north into Scotland, it's magic. Knopfler's music makes it one of the greatest scores of all time as well.
I suppose it's that longing that many of us feel as adults that there is more to life than getting ahead in a corporate world. there is something there that we've all gotta feel and taste and touch that brings us back down to the important things. When Mac finally rolls up his pant leg and leaves his overpriced watch in the rising tide while he goes searching for shells, or jeez, the phone box / northern ligts scene makes me laugh and shed a tear every single time.
Amazingly emotional chord Forsyth tapped into here......more info
- Worldwide appeal
This is a gem of a film. What appears to be a 'little' film packs quite a lot of comedy in a charming look at a wee Scottish village and the crafty American sent by a multi-national to buy them out.
The soundtrack's a stunner, written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits....more info
- The chill behind the warmth.
I have read around thirty of the reviews written for this film and all of them describe it as warm, witty, endearing, and gentle. All of which is, on the surface, true. The film can be appreciated for those qualities. But there is also a real darkness at the heart of this movie that seems to have somehow escaped most viewers. It is suggested most blatantly at the beginning in the short publicity film we see for Knox Oil. It is suggested further by the power Happer is demonstrated to have by virtue of his wealth when he orders his nutcase psychiatrist to be shot off his building. "Shoot to kill." It is suggested by the reassurance the minister of the town feels when he sees the jets flying overhead on their practice bombing runs. It's reassuring because their practicing means they aren't doing it for real somewhere else. It is suggested by the visit of the Russian "fisherman". The "fishing" that Soviet trawlers engaged in was often a cover for spying. It is suggested by the resort of the townsfolk to the "church road" when it appears that the sale is going to be blocked by the fellow Knox who lives on the beach. It looked to me like the prelude to a lynching which was only interrupted by Happer's deux ex machina arrival.
All the characters, as apparently appealing and gentle as they seemed on the surface, were motivated by the lure of riches or power and were held blameless for it by one another. "You can't eat scenery." The ending with the phone ringing in a scene that looked more like a picture post card than a live shot left me wondering if that place with all its beauty still existed or was the phone ringing in a place that had changed? We were left with the postcard, a memory, and not the place itself, much as Mac was, and with a troubling sense of participation in something wrong at its very foundations.
The main reason I love this movie is that I consider it a very moral piece of work....more info
- AN AMAZING FILM
Plot descriptions of "Local Hero" don't do it justice because everything turns on the humanity of these characters, all of whom the filmmaker clearly adores. As many times as I've seen it, it always leaves me feeling happier, more spacious inside, more alive to life's mysteries. ...more info
- A movie that touches, then lets go
This movie is incredible. It brings together all the elements of what a great movie should have (and believe me, this is a great movie). It has warmth, heart, depth, great acting, a rather simple story, and an air of longing. This movie is set on the west coast of Scotland in a small village, though the beginning is set in Houston. It is one of the best contrasts in a movie I have ever beheld. Houston, busy, big, loud and fast, to a little Scottish town, idle, small, quiet and slow. The quality of transformation in this movie is spectacular. Of course, many great film, especially ones of this caliber, have less than to standard endings, but this on has an ending unrivalled. It is actually my favorite part. So, if you are ready for a fast passed and thrilling movie, this is not one for you. But if, like me, you are ready to be moved, to ponder the content of an outstanding little movie, well, then this one is more than perfect for you, it is the only movie you'll ever need....more info
- One of the best
The subtle humor, great characters and story draw you in emotionally and really pays off each time you watch. Peter Riegert never had a better role (well, maybe a tie with Animal House), and Knopfler's soundtrack compliments the picture as well. Made me want to find this place in Scotland. Still stands up over time....more info
- Boring, boring, boring.....
Apparently, people who like this movie don't like to see it criticized. This is apparent in the number of 'unhelpful' votes this review has been given (far more than it would have if I just said a single sentence about how great it is). But, I still hated the movie and thought it was boring. You may like it, and if you do, great. Here's my original review:
This is by far the most boring movie I've ever seen. I would have turned it off, but I kept expecting that something (anything) interesting would happen. Nothing interesting ever happened, though there were a couple of funny spots. I'd like to have those two hours of my life back. I fortunately didn't waste my money buying the DVD, but rented it instead. Even after reading some of the reviews here, I don't know what anyone could like about this movie. I would have given it zero stars if possible....more info
- Charming, quirky movie
This is one of the few movies that, after I first saw it in a theatre, I went back and saw it again. And liked it just as much if not more the second time.
When you see a review of a movie and the words "quirky" or "charming" are in there it's not a bad idea to stay away from it. One person's charming is another person's treacly. But this film doesn't hit you over the head while trying to charm. It works its magic slowly and draws you in. It's well worth the time and by the end you'll know why Mac wants to leave the spectacular apartment in Texas and run a little inn in Scotland. You'll want to join him and do the same....more info
- "The Doors are never locked"
Often, critics use the term, "Charming" when describing Local Hero, indeed. This small enchanting film, evokes themes of friendhip and benevolence where the local villagers show a natural and easy acceptance of one another and its visitors. Empathy and understanding of the quirks and eccentricities that exist in us all are the codes that the villagers live by. There are few conflicts in Local Hero and the characters inhabit a world devoid of judgments. The villigers demonstrate to all a neat and natural obligation to their community and respect for individuality. In the Bay of Furness,"The doors are never locked."
Clearly, director Bill Forsyth loves his characters and he has a deft touch for light and gentle humor.
The cinematography is captivating with its depiction of the beauty of the Scottish coastline and rugged Highland mountains. The film score is exceptional. Mark Knopfler of "Dire Straits" wrote the score and he supports and augments the narrative with intelligence, warmth, and impact.
Local Hero's greatest strength is Forsyth's ability to delineate a world where despite serious issues of loss, money, and power, our differnces can be resovled without contempt and acrimony.
Although the film was produced in 1983, the film still has reasonance. In light of the ideological and political battles that rage today, Local Hero shows that we can still like one another.
I loved this film then, I love it now....more info