Yet there is also an element of putting a man who is comfortable and successful in one environment - urban, corporate, upper-middle-class life driven by money and materialism - and dropping him in a very different place - more wild, more affected by the rhythms of nature - and it transforms him. He becomes more his true self. He finds the path. The experience transforms him.
|Mac in Houston - before he leaves for Scotland|
By every measure that our modern society equates with happiness and success, Mac should be very happy. Yet we find out that he is not. He has no intimacy in his life; no love; no connection with people. No friendships, even at work. He is a man consumed by the corporate ladder. His whole life is geared toward world domination by his own employer. There are so many people - good people - like this in America. These are the guys and girls who are willing to move to all corners of the earth (read: America and Western Europe only) in order to get that next promotion, that next raise. Because that is what they blindly see as the way to get ahead. But where are they going? Why? These questions are left unanswered by these people.
Mac's transformation begins on the journey to Ferness, the Scottish town he has to acquire. He comes to buy the entire town, all the property from the coast line to a mile inland. It takes nearly two days to get there, and at one point on the drive from Aberdeen, there is so much fog on the mountain road that he has to merely stop driving in the middle of the road. Can you imagine that? Being in a place so remote that you can just stop in the middle of the road with no cars coming or going for hours on end? Just thinking about that gives me a sense of peace.
|Gordon and Stella|
|Ferness along the beach|
|Gordon and Mac, after a night of whiskey at the Ceili|
This film is rich with sub-plots and I am only choosing one of them. It is really more of a meditation than a film. Its richness is like an old book, or a fine smooth 42-year-old whiskey on a cool quiet night. You need time with this film to let it sink into your bones. Local Hero has changed my life for the better and it has put my priorities into perspective.
Mac has been given a gift - the ability to see his life for what it is by being allowed to go somewhere completely different to what he is used to. In our own lives we should all try to leave our comfort zone at times, just to see what it is like. Because taking chances like this can be transformative.
Let me add one musical note. Mark Knopfler recorded the soundtrack for this work. It is an excellent soundtrack, and Knopfler is Scottish, so I'm sure his heritage played an important role in his work. While his work could on the surface be considered an homage to Vangelis' excellent soundtrack for "Chariots of Fire," I do think it stands on its own as an excellent and essential component of the film. I love films where the music is a part of the story, and I believe that in the case of Local Hero, this is assuredly so. Knopfler is as much a part of this story as Peter Reigert is.