Sunday, November 21, 2010

Local Hero

I really can't remember there ever being a more down to earth film than Bill Forsyth's Local Hero (1983). It could have easily been a formula drama narrative where a small community must fight off a giant corporation in order to retain their land, but Forsyth made a real movie that generates real characters, who of course welcome the corporation and are eager for money. This movie isn't about a struggle, but the portrayal of the variety of characters and the ambiance of the small Scottish village.

Peter Riegert plays Mac, who is sent to a small Scottish, coastal village in order to buy the land so it may become an oil refinery. Mac's employer Mr Happer (Burt Lancaster) seems to be more interested in the Scottish night sky than his oil business. Mac arrives to a great landsacpe scenery and an incredibly local community. So local that some have more than two jobs just to help out, which is cleverly expressed in a scene where Mac and his associate Oldsen (Peter Capaldi) meet Gordon Urquhart (Denis Lawson). The majority of the plot deals with Mac and Gordon trying to reach an estimate for the land, while we are introduced to small, but quirky personalities of the village and meteor showers.

Of course there is character development with Mac, who questions if his luxury life in Houston, Texas really makes him happy or if a life in the village would satisfy him more. While Mac considers giving up his money for the local's lives, the locals are attempting to get a life like Mac's. Local Hero isn't an environmental film as such, but a film that focuses on the lives of a small village with scenes of great natural phenomenon. Those scenes are enhanced through Mark Knopfler's superb soundtrack that reflects the atmosphere of the film. When we witness Mac back at his apartment in Houston we register a sense of depression, but when we hear that phone ring back at the village and Knopfler's saxophone rise we are filled with assurance again.

check out trailer here:

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