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Local Hero does Good

The new movie, political procedural “In The Loop”, features a bravado performance by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi as a dirty motor mouthed Director Of Communication for the British Prime Minister.

You remember Capaldi as the young assistant in Bill Forsyth’s magical “Local Hero”, the follow up to Forsyth’s equally magical “Gregory’s Gir” which starred Altered Images vocalist Clare Grogan.

Mark Knopfler scored the music to “Local Hero” including “Going Home” -the instrumental theme song and one of the loveliest pieces of music you’ll ever here. It’s the saving grace on a major league career whose albums and songs I’ve found relentlessly disappointing. Knopfler came on the scene with his band in 1977. Considered new wave by dint of if he didn’t wear skinny ties he’d have had no career, Dire Straits were a hugely successful group whom Mark wrote all the songs for. My problem was these hugely successful songs put me to sleep. Even his most successful songs, “Money For Nothing” , “Sultans Of Swing” and “Romeo and Juliet” were tasty but somnambulistic and his solo albums are unspeakably dreary and live he couldn’t sell the sizzle if it sat on his knees and went “szzzzzzzzz”.

This is not complain about Mark’s very fluent guitar guitar. The man is a born session musician and he is integral to one of Dylan’s most important works, “Slow Train Coming”. He also did a fine, almost invisible job, on “Infidels” -a better job than Lanois would do a little later.

So Knopfler’s problem is he has zero personality and his songs suck except his work on “Local Hero” is so good. The movie, Forsyth’s best, is the off-center story of a small village in Scotland being sold to an oil company for huge amounts of money but that doesn’t begin to describe what a wonderful adventure it is (“Gregory’s Girl” tells of teenagers on a first date but that doesn’t describe it either). Burt Lancaster portrays an oil tycoon and they just don’t make em Lancaster. This was one of his final performances in a great third actor to the virile star of “From Here To Eternity”.

Everything in “Local Hero” is touched by divinity and that goes for the gorgeous and moving “Going Home” -with a syntn leading the way that slight toneyness on top of a rock band moves from the Houstony big city to the small Scottish village and, in keeping with the lead actor Peter Riegert’s awakened longings for another life the instrumental ebbs and flow between exultation and nostalgia.

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