Local Hero Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 6, 2013
Local Hero is a funny little film. Whimsical, charming and odd but odd in the best possible way. The leading performances by Peter Riegert, Denis Lawson and a very impressive young Peter Capaldi (who I see on my Train on the way to work most mornings) are fantastic but it's Burt Lancaster who really steals the show in one of my favourite comedy performances of all time. Any predictability is made up for with an exceptionally witty script. Charming as hell and the epitome of likable.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2011
A taste of the quaint life of rural Scotland back in the early 80s when the oil giants were still considered a necessary evil. This really is a British classic with memorable characters and a signature theme tune in Mark Knopfler's synth score.
Super Reviewer
February 10, 2011
I really cannot praise Local Hero enough; it is simply one of the best films ever made and certainly, without any shadow of doubt, my number one favourite movie of all time. Fans of Ealing Comedy will relate to this film instantly. The humour is extremely subtle, going for the quirkiness of human behaviour rather than prefabricated belly-laughs. For example, the two farmers arguing which is the better vehicle for transporting winter lambs, Massarati or Rolls Royce. And the African preacher who has to explain that he's "not Scottish either" but still has the surname McPhearson. At first glance, the story of Local Hero is hardly one which would engage fevered interest. A big Texan oil company wants to buy a huge chunk of Scottish coastline and a representative is flown over to close the deal. Chosen because it's thought he is of Scottish origin, McIntyre (Peter Riegert) complains to a colleague that he could do the deal over the wires in an afternoon and that his parents chose the surname when they got off the boat from Hungary because they thought it sounded American. But what grabs the attention and is the fundamental beauty to the film is "Mac's" journey from a materialistic Texan yuppie to one who falls in love with the simple things of life and by the film's end, when Mac returns home, has been changed forever by his trip.

Mac plays his part very well from a character who depends on his expensive suits, his Porsche, quad hi-fi and personal health insurance to one who collects shells on a Scottish beach and drinks 40 year-old malt whisky in the bosom of the small community that he suddenly finds himself a part of. Burt Lancaster plays the wonderfully eccentric oil company CEO who is more concerned with dicovering a comet of his own than making millions of dollars. Then of course there is Denis Lawson as the estate agent / taxi driver / hotelier, Peter Capaldi as the bungling company trainee and Jenny Seagrove who prefers being underwater to life on land, along with all the various yokels and locals that give this film its very unique charm. And the plot twist? A fabulously subtle one-liner that gives the whole thing away. But of course, one cannot talk about this movie without mentioning the soundtrack. Many years ago I felt compelled to watch this movie because (being a big Dire Straits fan at the time) i had the soundtrack and was instantly hooked. Mark Knopfler does sterling work in adding musical flavour to the film. Lazy acoustic guitars match perfectly the breath-taking scenary that the director, Bill Forsyth, has captured of the Scottish Highlands. Overall, I would have no hesitation in recommending this film to people. Every recommendation I've made has been met with the same response: a gem of a movie that simply cannot be ignored. Local Hero will be my own personal number one for ever!
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2010
Not a bad flick. We watch a fast moving Texas oil man slow down and appreciate the world around him when visiting Scotland on business and it tries to remind us that we need to slow down as well and take a good look at the things we think are the most important things in our lives.
The acting is solid and the music helps set the mood and speed of the flick perfectly.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2009
Sometimes, even Texas oil billionaires have to stop and smell the seaweed.

A clever little morality tale about Scotland and meteor showers and women with webbed toes. This one is really starting to grow on me.
Super Reviewer
February 24, 2009
I really enjoyed this movie a lot. I thought it was sweet and endearing without being cheesy. There are also a lot of subtle touches about power and wealth that I really thought resonated. Peter Riegert and the villagers are all very natural and every performance adds something to the overall story. To top it all of you have the amazing Burt Lancaster. I could listen to him talk all day. Chris Menges makes the film look beautiful, using the natural lighting and the landscapes that allow you to get lost in this gorgeous corner of the world. Good writing and direction by Bill Forsyth.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2008
A comedic drama done the right way. Current comedies need to take a lesson and learn how to make people laugh without overdoing and forcing the jokes on us.The story works well for this type of film and at the same time is actually pretty thin, if you think about it. Yet, somehow the film drags it out to almost 2 hours without making it entirely boring. How is this possible? The timing and style of the humor is performed at the right times and in the right amounts, which will keep you entertained. It is also constant throughout the film and it actually seems natural at times. You can tell that these comedic points aren't forced on the audience either. The biggest complaint I have with the story is the ending, which I believe could have been better. On a side note, the film does use some nice cinematography. Combine this with the nice setting and you get some wonderful shots.The acting is done nicely. Both Peter Riegert and Denis Lawson carry this film to the very end. What is nice about these two is that one is American and the other is Scottish. They really do work well together. Burt Lancaster has a nice role, but is definitely underused, especially with the way he is advertised for this film. Jenny Seagrove is just beautiful to look at, but what was up with her feet?This may not be the most entertaining of movies, but it is a nicely written comedic drama.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2007
Amiable british comedy in the spirit of Ealing in which big city american developer Burt Lancaster gets the inevitable life lessons from the usual collection of village eccentrics. Pleasantly predictable.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ June 2, 2013
Well, Peter Riegert may not be you're friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but I reckon he'll have to do as a conveniently placed hero. "They make us boss, the devil pays off, and them folks that are real hard up, they get their local hero, somebody with the right style! They get their local hero, somebody with just the right smile!" Forget Bruce Springsteen, or at least his studio stuff (Hey, say what you will, or rather, what you should about his recordings, but he puts on a heck of a live show), because the real '80s rock star who we should be talking about here is Mark Knopfler, and if you're wondering who that is, first off, forget you, and secondly, why, he's a Sultan... he is a Sultan of Swing... who wants his MTV... and scored this film. Yeah, he wasn't exactly pretty enough to make it as a household name of a superstar guitarist, but, as he would put it, "yeah, the boy can play", and with his fingers no less, and can also put together a pretty good film score (I guess you could say that he is "Making Movie Scores"... if you get what I'm referring to), which is good, because not a whole lot of people kept up with him after Dire Straits. I don't know why, because I can't think of anyone else in the band, as awesome as it was, unless, of course, people either forgot his name, due, of course, to his not being pretty enough make it as a household name of a superstar guitarist, or couldn't figure out how to pronounce his name when they tried to ask a clerk for his solo CD. No, he wasn't that unsuccessful as a solo artist, but let us still remember him for his work, even in this film, whose score isn't its only aspect that's enjoyable, even if it can't quite overshadow problems.

Something that I admittedly did not expect from this film was its being as slow as it is, for although I wasn't exactly walking into this British comedy expecting all that much liveliness, and although the final product rarely, if ever blands things up so much that it downright bores, the atmosphere is much too cold much too often, being flavored up by anything from sharp humor to spirited score work, but nonetheless dulled down by its neglect to build up all that much atmospheric momentum. The film limps along, not simply more than I expected, but more than it should, letting your investment slip, time and again, and ultimately proving to be a crushing blow to the enjoyability of this generally decent film, at least when it backs story structuring that is just as limp. It could perhaps be the atmospheric slowness emphasizing lower points in plotting momentum, but whether we're looking at atmospheric issues or issues that were on paper to begin with, this nearly two-hour, kind of minimalist comedy outstays its welcome with excess material that sometimes goes so far as to descend into needless subplots, often comes off as nothing more than filler, and consistently stands as little more than mere fat around the edges that drag out a film that is limp enough in atmosphere. There are enough high points to Bill Forsyth's script for storytelling to not fall too flat, but the final product feels pretty repetitious because of its tendency to drag its feet, both on paper and in directorial execution, and such repetition quickly devolves into aimlessness when all of the slow spells provide you with time to meditate upon how there's really not much to this story. There's certainly enough meat on the bones of this story concept for a reasonable degree of intrigue to be sustained, occasionally augmented by relative heights in spirit, but on the whole, we're looking at a generally do-little plot with limited consequence and a whole lot of room for dragging that this film has no trouble filling. The film has its high points, but between them is a film with only so many flaws, but ones that prove to be potent enough for the final product to slip into bland aimlessness that meanders along, disengaging you enough for memorability in this film to go shaken by underwhelmingness. That being said, while the film is hardly as lively as it could have been, the patient can expect to find a film that is still well-crafted enough to stand firmly secured as decent, with charm, heart and, of course, a pretty soundtrack.

Mark Knopfler's first experiment with film soundtrack composing, this flick boasts a score that isn't terribly spirited, or even all that used, so don't at all go in expecting something as rich as, say, the then-relatively new "Telegraph Road" (I bring that song up, in spite of its typically not being all that talked about, because it is more-or-less amazing), but do expect Knopfler's first venture into the world of film scoring to be a fairly worthwhile one, with a distinct steadier and warmer type of Dire Straits flavor - anchored by Knopfler's tastefully sharp guitar work - that both entertains and adds to the warmly thoughtful heart of this meditative charmer. Knopfler's efforts may sometimes fall into formulaic score sensibilities for the '80s, but on the whole, enough is refreshing about this soundtrack to augment what liveliness there is within this film, whose liveliness must first be established before it can be augmented. Well, sure enough, no matter how much Bill Forsyth's story structuring limps out, when the script picks up, it helps in keeping you going, largely through humor that may sometimes be too dry to be all that especially effective, but is generally very amusing in its marrying relative silliness with wit in order to craft colorful dialogue and visual jokes that range from amusing, to very funny. If nothing else is colorful about Forsyth's script, it is, to a certain degree, the characterization that may be hurt by expository shortcomings throughout the final product, but proves colorful enough for your investment in the characters who drive this film to be attracted, then truly secured by the color within the charismatic portrayals of the characters. Most everyone in this cast charms, to one degree or another, with our leads being particularly charismatic, especially when such charisma bonds through chemistry that helps in giving the film rather human touches that further color up the endearing heart of this film that would still not be what it ultimately is without the efforts of Forsyth, as director. I wish I could say that Forsyth's atmosphere is nearly as lively as it perhaps could have been, because liveliness would have reinforced the kind of entertainment value that could potentially take a very heavy load off of the shoulders of this film, which would not necessarily be truly rewarding with less bland spells, but would certainly take on more of the punch that you still get enough glimpses of to be adequately engaged, as Forsyth, through all of his directorial flaws, goes into this project with palpable inspiration that intensifies the charming aspects - of which there plenty - as endearing and kind of effective. The film stands to entertain, or at least engage more, and would have been as entertaining as it probably should be if more effort was put into liveliness, but when it's all over and done with, the charm and heart of the film endears, while the sharp humor, performances and high points in storytelling help in securing the final product as decent, in spite of its leaving much to be desired.

Bottom line, atmospheric limp spells lay blows to a momentum that is hurt enough by the repetitious dragging that joins with natural shortcomings in story concept to form aimlessness that leaves the final product to meander its way into underwhelmingness, but no further, as there is enough sharpness to Mark Knopfler's score, effectiveness to the humor, and charm the performances, both on and off of the screen, for "Local Hero" to go padded as heavily flawed, but endearing enough to stand as enjoyably decent.

2.5/5 - Fair
Super Reviewer
September 1, 2013
Rightly well loved, beautifully shot film filled with warmth, wit and surreal quirkiness. Peter Riegert and Peter Capaldi are outstanding.
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2013
Comedy-wise, "Local Hero" is a modest success. The story unravels in an all too familiar way and there aren't many laughs to be had, but it's amiable and low key and fun to watch. Peter Reigert makes a very likable lead character and Burt Lancaster is perfectly-cast as an eccentric billionaire.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2010
Not bad, but not great either. Pretty disappointed with this one.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2009
It was just ok, I just didn't care about any of the characters.This film was just to bland for me, like eating unflavored gelatin.
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2008
Quirky, goofy, charming movie in which nothing can be predicted. The creators of 'Northern Exposure' must've used this film as a blueprint for their excellent series, right down to the Rob Morrow lookalike as their fish-out-of-water.
½ June 23, 2014
Handles itself like a true Scotsman. That is to say, drunk a lot of the time. Fantastic, all the same.
½ March 29, 2009
Another hard one to call. Were it not for its quirkiness this would be barely watchable. At times it feels very thin, like we are missing pertinent details about certain characters. Ultimately this is just too boring and badly British for my tastes.
December 29, 2008
Slow down. Look at the scenery. Fall INTO the scenery. Hate yourself when you have to go back to work. Definitely a movie worth watching over and over, and the mermaid that you didn't quite see is a cute twist...
October 5, 2008
Completley over looked. A Classic in my book, just like Being There.
Try to find it its well worth the time.
April 28, 2008
Great story about a man falling in love with a small Scottish town. Burt Lancaster and his psychologist add a bit of levity.
August 1, 2007
A truly brilliant film. Burt Lancaster's sensational performance as the astronomy-fanatical oil baron added the concrete to Reigert's character, full of the most subtle and charming humour.
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