Local Hero (1983)

reviewed by
Brian Koller

Local Hero (1983)
Grade: 68

"Local Hero" is a gentle comedy from Scotland. There's little action or plot, but the script, characters and direction all have a quirky irreverence that is charming if not fully convincing.

Peter Riegert is a young executive sent to Scotland to buy a small coastal town for its oil rights. Burt Lancaster is his boss, but he is more interested in astronomy than business. Riegert soon has a goony-eyed sidekick in Peter Capaldi, who is in love with aptly named Marina (Jennifer Black). Riegert finds that the townsfolk, particularly proprietor Dennis Lawson, are greedily willing to sell out.

The cinematography of the seashore and ocean is attractive, and the little Scottish village is quaint. The charm of the quiet village life is contrasted with the frantic corporate lifestyle of Houston, Texas. At film's end, Riegert is obligated to return to Texas, and it clear that he does not want to go.

"Local Hero" has more than its share of humorous moments, which unfortunately can't be revealed without spoiling them. Other scenes don't come off as well, especially those involving Lancaster's abusive shrink (Norman Chancer). We are to believe that young and indolent Capaldi knows a dozen different languages. The whimsy of the script and eccentricities of the supporting characters can't fully hide the simplicity of the plot, which takes us nowhere slowly.

kollers@mpsi.net http://members.tripod.com/~Brian_Koller/movies.html

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