Local Hero, from director Bill Forsyth, is an understated, atmospheric masterpiece. The movie follows “Mac” (Peter Riegart), an oil executive from Houston, as he travels to a small Scottish inlet called Ferness, where he is tasked by his eccentric boss (Burt Lancaster) with convincing the locals to sell their home so that his company can build an oil refinery over it. But as he gets to know the townspeople and explores the quiet setting, he discovers something in the place and himself that causes him to question his task and his own way of life.
I’d say more but the film’s genius lies in its subtlety and spare plot. It’s really about the places and the people. It’s a rumination on how life is lived and how it can be lived. Like few other films, it whisks the viewer away to a different, but not so different world, serving as a reminder that life itself can be the most breathtaking, magical thing there is if we stop to pay attention.