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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 real Classic movie. The soundtrack is amazing. So much fun to watch.Published 4 months ago by DWendy
Local Hero is a genuine cult movie, the kind that has a small but devoted following of fans, though it's not popular among other people who don't "get it. Read morePublished on May 24 2013 by Jon Corelis
There may be the making of great movie - nice scenery, very good actors, atmospheric soundtrack, whimsy and authenticity -- but it did not come to fruition...
Why not? Read more
2008 marks the 25th anniversary of "Local Hero," so when will we see a special collector's edition with all the bells and whistles this wonderful film deserves? Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2008 by Amazon Customer
One of my all-time favorite movies. Very funny, great characters, and a town I would like to live in, with one of my all-time favourite endings. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2004 by Kilgore
This is one of those movies that you watch and finally when the credits roll you kick yourself for wasting the time and effort to do so.
The bomb dropping jets? Read more
This movie really did inspire me. I got up the nerve to make a solo trip around Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by S. E. Fanning
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. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2003 by A. G. Purker
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... Read morePublished on Dec 2 2003