USA Release date: 17th February 1983
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 17th July 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is one of my all-time favourite comedies; not only for the gentle understated script, but also for the beautiful haunting score by Mark Knopfler. It picked a few awards in its time, amongst them, Bill Forsyth won the 1984 BAFTA for Best Direction and Mark Knopfler was nominated for Best Score. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Knox Oil in Houston, Texas is exploring for oil in the North Sea and need a site for a new refinery. A stretch of coastline is selected but it is inhabited and so they send young executive MacIntyre out to make a deal with the locals. It seems the locals already know he is coming and are keen to make a deal. The local accountant Gordon Urquhart agrees to liaison with the villagers leaving MacIntyre to enjoy the scenery. Over time he falls in love with the place, but knows he’s there to do a job. With agreement looming they hit a sticking point when they discover that the beach is owned by the local beachcomber, Ben. Unable to persuade him, MacIntyre’s boss, Felix Happer arrives to conclude matters. Could this mean the end for the beautiful fishing village, or is there another twist in the tale? Of course I’m not going to tell you here or them Spoiler Police will be taking me for a ride in a boat.
This is the first time I’ve watched this with a view to reviewing it and, I must say, I found the script much more subtle than I had noticed before. Apart from the obvious comic elements, I got much more out of it this time around. Great performances all round; Peter Riegert did a good job as MacIntyre, as did Denis Lawson as Gordon Urquhart. I should also mention Burt Lancaster, who did a sterling job as Felix Happer and Fulton Mackay who was really great as Ben. And finally, an early role for a young Peter Capaldi as Danny Oldsen, better known these days for his role in the TV series The Thick of It, and the 2009 film, In the Loop. There are many others I would like to mention, but I would be here all day if I did.
It does look a little dated and it’s very obvious there wasn’t much of a budget left to play with after Mr Lancaster had been paid. But even so, it’s still a fine piece of work and one I would be very happy to watch several more times in years to come. It’s interesting to watch MacIntyre and how his appearance subtly changes throughout the film, I love that way that was done. But enough of my prattlings, I think you’ve probably already guessed… Recommended.
My Score: 8.6/10