The charming and humorous veneer to "Local Hero" is the polish on what is a wry film that slowly slips under the skin to surprising effect.
Peter Riegert plays a corporate deal-maker for Burt Lancaster's massive Knox Industries, an American oil company. He's sent over to a tiny Scottish fishing village with the task of buying it and the surrounding land in order to set up a massive oil terminal. In the hands of many British film makers the obvious slant for the film would be to portray Reigert as the face of an evil 'Yank' corporate devil, trying to bulldoze the twee and hardy residents of a postcard-perfect Scottish town into oblivion.
Writer and director Bill Forsyth opts for a far cleverer twist where Reigert is welcomed with open arms by villagers, only too pleased to get rich and move on to a better life. There's a fair whiff of "Whisky Galore" to these often amusing characters, but for the most part, their keenness to get wealthy strikes a realistic chord that provides a solid foundation for the humour.
This is still a movie though, so naturally one very stubborn stumbling block emerges. This allows the underused Burt Lancaster to enter into the fray and bring the movie to a decisive conclusion. Once over, the mood of the film hits home and a longing develops to visit once again the characters of this warm and deceptively slight comedy.
Read a review of the DVD.