Local Hero (1983) – Bill Forsyth (Friday’s Finest)

In my article of Mark Knopfler’s Going Home instrumental, I had intended writing a review of Local Hero in ‘Friday’s Finest’.

Going Home which ends the soundtrack is one of the most inspirational songs I’ve heard. It raises to a phenomenal Saxophone crescendo which always gives me goosebumps. I remember back in the early nineties my guitarist friend Malcolm telling me when we were listening to this song – ‘Listen to Knopflers guitar zinging when the Saxophone is prancing ‘. That’s a good ear.

My family ancestry partly originates from Scotland, so I have always had a penchant for anything Scottish. I remember in my young adulthood enthralled watching Billy Connelly’s World Tour of Scotland over and over again.

Just this past weekend my kids and I watched Amy Macdonald’s rendition of Flower of Scotland as part of what could be considered the world’s greatest National Anthem mix. Scotland had just beaten Spain in the Euro qualifiers so we were ‘happy chappys‘. Whitney Houston’s stupendous performance of Star Spangled Banner at the 1991 Superbowl is definitely there. Can I add another? Delta Goodrum at the AFL of Advance Australia Fair. Down all tools if you haven’t seen these three! Haha.

Where am I? Oh, Local Hero. I haven’t seen this movie in eons, but it made a great impression on me, not just because of Knopfler’s stellar soundtrack. It’s a movie that often goes amiss in movie discussion circles, but I think ‘time’ is gonna treat this film very well, when ninety percent of most films are forgotten, this will continue to rise in the ranks of the remembered.

IMDB Storyline:

Oil billionaire Happer sends Mac to a remote Scottish village to secure the property rights for an oil refinery they want to build. Mac teams up with Danny and starts the negotiations, the locals are keen to get their hands on the ‘Silver Dollar’ and can’t believe their luck. However, a local hermit and beach scavenger, Ben Knox, lives in a shack on the crucial beach which he also owns. Happer is more interested in the Northern Lights and Danny in a surreal girl with webbed feet, Marina. Mac is used to a Houston office with fax machines but is forced to negotiate on Bens terms

Scottish director Bill Forsyth allows us to see the environment not as something to possess or control but as a privilege granted to all. Ironically, it is the villagers who are captivated by the prospect of the money and more aggressive in its pursuit than Big Mac (Peter Rieger). Oh, and the performance by Peter Rieger is one of best low-key performances of all time. Local Hero is best savoured in isolation, as if you were 1000 miles from home and with nothing.

Great writing; a dozen well-developed characters. Gentle good humor, without demeaning anyone. Local Hero was made in the 80’s, yet it goes against the grain of movies made during that decade for a simple-minded lowest common denominator audience. It not only respects it’s audience but seems to show an against-all-odds affection for humanity that includes the audience. Bill Forsyth seems to care about every character that inhabits his film, and in a very gentle, open-handed way he seems to want to share his characters with the audience so that the audience might see the best of themselves in some aspect of those characters.

1. Local Hero (film) – Wikipedia
2. Local Hero – IMDB

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Movies and TV
6 comments on “Local Hero (1983) – Bill Forsyth (Friday’s Finest)
  1. I liked the Scotland and Australia versions. Didn’t like Houston – she wrecked a good tune.

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