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Local Hero [DVD]
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on 19 November 2017
One of my favourite films, full of whimsy and humour. Young American oilman sent to Scottish highlands to buy up a village, all sorts of quirky by-plots - a Communist era Russian trawler skipper playing the stock market, a selkie/mermaid marine biologist, a shrink overreaching himself etc, . A great supporting role by Burt Lancaster but all the cast fit really well. And the beach scene adjoining (??) the village ...........
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on 1 December 2014
My favourite film of all time. I saw this for the first time in the mid 80's when still a child, I was captivated by its warmth, British & Scottish eccentricity and humour. Many call it whimsical to me it continues to be a perfect antidote to the speed of modern life and our demand for equally modern high paced films. That's not to say this film hasn't aged well because apart from some of the cheesy corporate 'Knox oil & Gas' scenes this film has not aged at all....especially if you are familiar with the Scottish film locations. Fine performances from all involved including Denis Lawson, Fulton Macay, Jenny Seagrove but an intriguing young Peter Capaldi.

The plot of the film surrounds 'Mac' a thrusting Texas oil executive is of Polish born parents who adopted the name Macintyre in order to fit in the US. However Mac's eccentric boss believes he is Scot so sends the reluctant but ambitious negotiator to the remote West Coast of Scotland to purchase a fishing village for conversion to an oil refinery....."Surely I don't need to go there, I am more of a Telex Man".

As someone who spends time in corporate America and the West Coast of Scotland...I feel Macintyre's aching nostalgia as he returns to his empty City apartment....the sea shells pulled from his pocket instantly take him back to the place and the people who he was supposed to 'purchase' but instead ends up falling in love with. He opens the door to the balcony and the sirens and traffic noise of the city fill the room contrasting heavily with the peace and character of the rest of the film and 'Mac' knows his life is changed forever.....The full melody of Knopfler's eponymous theme tune rises to its crescendo and you know no matter what.....things will be OK.

Strange times Archie, strange times
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on 16 April 2013
Whilst the fish-out-of-water scenario has been a rich source of humour for cinema since its inception, Local Hero still manages to find laughs in Peter Riegert's texan oil man, Mac, visiting the quiet, Scottish seabord.

Partly it does this by steering away from obvious filmic contrivances and presents a gentler, even rambling, observational experience. Director Bill Forsyth eschews grand Hollywood romance and neat conclusions, preferring a more incidental narrative structure where the central characters experience subtle change rather than dramatic conversion.

Therefore, the central roles (particularly those held by Riegert and Denis Lawson - of Wedge in Star Wars fame) must have been hugely rewarding for the actors. They are allowed to build complex, multi-layered characters. The consequence of this is that some of the supporting roles seem like caricatures in comparison, in particular Burt Lancaster's Happer. The female roles feel insubstantial and only seem to be there as romantic foils or objects of desire. These appear to be narrative decisions on the part of the film-makers and make sense given the context and era of the film but, nevertheless, sometimes feel jarring.

The film is clearly a product of its time but the production has aged reasonably well, with the exception of the haircuts and the fashions it feels fresh and even Mark Knopfler's soundtrack still sparkles.

Local Hero is a rather beautiful film; both in terms of the Highland locations and the perfectly observed moments of whimsical comedy. It's a film that moves at a gentle pace but rewards those who follow Mac's example and slow down to meet it on its own terms.
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on 25 June 2012
We've probably all had the experience - going back to a film we watched and really enjoyed back in 1980s and being disappointed or dissatisfied. Well "Local Hero" isn't one of those films. Having watched it again I probably enjoyed it even more than before; it is good on so many levels.

It's the early 1980s and the North Sea oil boom is getting under way. An American company has identified a section of the coast of the Scottish Highlands that's ideal for a tanker terminal and oil refinery - the only trouble is, it's already occupied by a fishing village. Someone must be sent to buy the place up, with a suitable cover story of course because there will be trouble or price hikes if people learn what's going on. The eccentric boss selects one of his rising young executives, MacIntyre, for the job, on the grounds that's he's Scottish and therefore best equipped to deal with the villagers.

Mac doesn't dare tell the boss he has no connection at all with Scotland (his family were Hungarian, they changed their name to MacIntyre when they immigrated because they thought it sounded suitably American) and so heads off on his mission. Soon we more on to the two plot twists that underpin the rest of the film. The first, predictably, is that Mac is so overcome with the beauty and charm of the village he doesn't want his mission to succeed and starts to wonder how to make it fail without losing his job. The second is that the villagers, who have to live in the place and eke out quite a hard living, really want to sell and are just interested in making sure they get the best price. How are things resolved? That's the story.

"Local Hero" has many strengths - the characterisation, the acting, the storylines and scripting, the quirkiness, and above all the gorgeous beauty of the location and a sound-track to match. It's not perfect - the tedious sub-plot involving the company boss and his therapist could have been dropped, and we get the joke about the Kirk minister of the village as soon as we set eyes on him, he doesn't need to keep reminding us he's from Africa. But these are minor drawbacks in what is otherwise a really good film. The DVD extra features are also worth watching.
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on 18 July 2009
In the "extra" - an interview with the filmmaker, Bill Forsyth - the charge is repeated that the natural world and the society threatened by the big Texas oil company's development is too "made up" and idealised - a beautiful mermaid, a sort of "Balamory" atmosphere (but with the hoteliers at it like knives all the time), and the natural beauty of the hills, the sea and the Northern Lights.

However, anyone mesmerised by having to earn tens of thousands and have the flashiest Porsche should watch as the American "Mac" gradually loses the suit, adopts a sweater, and lets his digital watch drown in the sea.

It would be his BlackBerry today - though to use a "British Telecom" "payphone" he would surely need a lot more tens - if it hadn't been removed...

Conversely, the villagers smell big money like the characters in Dürrenmatt's "Visit"...(though we don't get to see if it ruins their lives...)

This is a charming film that prompts us to ask what we want from life, and why.

Although "Mac" (Peter Riegert) and his boss "Hopper" (Burt Lancaster) are American, they do not appear to be sort of Sellotaped in to appeal to a wider audience, as so often happens. Their roles are part of the fabric of the film.

The DVD has neither subtitles, nor alternative soundtracks. The German version doesn't even have English! However, this beautifully digitally-remastered version is perfect if you never bought the video...
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on 23 October 2014
I had just moved back to the North east when this was first released. The hotel in Pennan was perfectly cast (sadly - it is now closed and forlorn, with only a fading plaque to note its one time fame). The acting and the running jokes (e.g. the motorbike) are classic. Burt Lancaster was never a favourite of mine, but he came through well in this as an elder oil industry statesman. A very young Peter Capaldi and Jenny Seagrove. The main star (after the rabbit) is the music of Mark Knopfler and especially the end music - Going Home.
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on 17 October 2010
I have known this film since it came out in the 1980's and have lost count of how many times I've watched it. As others have said, it's not a side splitting comedy but is so gentle and and subtle. The scenery is breath taking - the beaches and the mountains and it wouldn't be half the film it is without the music which has become the sound track to my life. One thing to look out for...we think Marina's a mermaid! She has webbed toes, is always in the water and appears as if by magic by the shoreside on the night of the ceillidh wearing a shimmering sea coloured dress. I don't know if this was intentional or if it's just me being fanciful but I like to think it's true! Enjoy!
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on 19 July 2017
The movie "Local Hero" is funny charming and very clearly shows how quirky and wonderful the people of Scotland can be. Burt Lancaster's role is very well done indeed. The musical score, by Dire Straits with Mark Knopfler is second to none.
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on 3 July 2009
Burt Lancaster plays an American oil boss (Happer)who is more interested in the sky than in being a high powered executive. When he learns that the firm has plans to develope a remote Scottish beach to receive oil from the North Sea, he sends one of his young turks, whom he falsely believes to be of Scottish descent (his father liked the name McKenzie when the family landed in America), to go and negotiate the sale of the requisite land. In Aberdeen, McKenzie meets a gangly Scot (Peter Capaldi) and they go off to a marine reseach center run by Ricky Fulton. After a few misadventures, one involving an injured rabbit, they arrive at the village Inn where they find inn-keeper cum lawyer cum everything else (Dennis Lawson) who is to oversee the deal and negotiate the finances on the villagers' behalf. Cue multiple misunderstandings, a mad Russian, a fatherless baby and the shack-dwelling owner of a crucial bit of the beach who is adamant he will not sell. Happer arrives by helicopter initially to try to persuade him of the erroer of his ways, but when they find a mutual interest in astronomy, Happer decides to put the money into marine reseach.
A lovely innocent tale, enjoyable on many levels.
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on 24 October 2017
Top class film. Top class acting
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