Tag Archives: peter Riegart

Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero

If you’ve never seen Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero, drop whatever plans you have this evening and get on it. This is a curious one to review because no description could adequately impart its exact timbre. A hangout film, a low key culture clash dramedy, but more than anything specific or definable it’s just about a few Americans, a few Scots and one hard drinking Russian chilling out together in a small coastal village somewhere in Scotland.

Director Forsyth doesn’t so much construct a thought out script to screen here as he does take an anthropologist’s eye in telling the tale of an American oil conglomerate who sends their top fixer (Peter Riegart) to a small beach community in Scotland with hopes of buying up much of the coastline for an incoming refinery project. This would of course make the townspeople very rich, yet on the other hand take away their homes that have been in the family for generations and leave the natural environment bleeding. This isn’t so much an ‘us vs. them’ thing or any kind of struggle in any way though. Riegart (who is a fascinating dude and who I can only recall in two other projects, the cop opposite Jim Carrey in The Mask and a tiny cameo in Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic) and his aloof assistant (Peter Capaldi) simply blend into the local scenery, chill out and get to know these folk on a naturalistic, believable scale of behaviour. Making friends with the local innkeeper (Dennis Lawson) who doubles as the town accountant and pretty much mayor too, singing songs, talking philosophy to the stars and basically unwinding. The oil company’s CEO (Burt Lancaster) has hilariously little interest in developing a refinery and would much rather sit on the beach with a telescope observing the heavens.

Films this subtly pleasant grow on you and are honestly a balm for the soul, an oasis for perception to vacation in for an hour or so when things can get rough, which for the past year has basically been the story of my life. Forsyth sees these people as not just characters in a script, there to serve story, but just that: people, human beings. Riegart’s oil man is nothing like the brash, cocky big city slicker that some filmmakers would have turned him into. He’s gentle, open to new experiences and ultimately in awe of the way of life he finds in this community. The townsfolk aren’t hostile, protective or scornful of him again like some films would paint them, they’re quaint, wrapped up in their elegiac daily rumination and see him simply as another dude they can have a pint with at the end of the day. I love and admire artists who have what they takes to make a film stocked with actual people instead of cardboard characters, and you don’t see that all the time. A wonderfully eccentric microcosm of two factions of society and not so much how they clash, but more how they cordially find themselves in the same place by circumstance and simply make the most out of it. Great film.

-Nate Hill

Passion Of Mind: A Review by Nate Hill

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Passion Of Mind is a little seen fantasy romance tale that stars Demi Moore as a woman named Marie, essentially living double lives in a way. She lives and works in New York, and is as ordinary as any other woman in the world, but when she goes to sleep she wakes up to another life in the French countryside, with another job and children who aren’t in New York. She lives a day in the French life, goes to sleep, wakes up back in the New York life and lives for another day before going to sleep and back again. And so it goes. Is one life a dream? Or both? Is she imagining things, or stuck in some rift? To complicate things, as always happens in film, there are two men, one for each life. Aaron (William Fichtner) is a kind, caring businessman in the New York life who she begins a relationship with. In France she meets compassionate, romantic William (Stellen Skarsgard) who she also begins to fall for. Quite the predicament, no? If the premise sounds familiar to you, here’s why: there was a short lived NBC drama called Awake which ran for one season, starred Jason Isaacs and had the exact same setup. Now while the show obviously borrowed it’s central plotline from this film, it’s no big deal because it’s such a great idea it deserves more than just one shot. The film is quiet, pleasent and sweet, never really taking steps to explain it’s concept but simply letting it’s characters live within it in perplexed, whimsical harmony. Moore has an inherent sweetness to her and she’s wonderful here. One might think a protagonist who is put through a scenario would be confused, stressed out and damaged. Moore plays it her own way, as she always had. Her character is enchanted by her situation, if a little wary. Skarsgard and Fichtner are left field choices for romantic leads, as both are kind of considered character actors with stark, specific looks. Both play it straight here and their casting helps the film loads. Marie has two separate therapists, each from one of the lives (an element which the NBC show used as well), played by Joss Ackland and Peter Riegart. It’s not to serious, not too fluffy, just the right kind of low key romance with an imaginitive streak and a high concept that fits neatly into the story.