In 2007, Donald Trump purchased a huge stretch of northeast Scottish coast and announced a grand plan to construct two golf courses, a 450-room luxury hotel and 1,500 town houses. His presence was not welcome by many local residents, including several that refused to sell their property to accompany Trump’s grand plans.
While this may seem like a real-life version of the classic 1983 Bill Forsyth film “Local Hero,” there was very little gentle humor in Trump’s Scottish adventure. Anthony Baxter’s award-winning documentary details how Trump and his backers in Scotland’s political leadership bulldozed their way – literally and figuratively – into making this scheme work.
When challenged over the details of his efforts, Trump crudely insulted opponents to his plan, referring to one farmer that refused to sell his property as living in a pigsty. When a local council rejected a building application on environmental grounds, the Scottish parliament took an unprecedented step of reversing the decision. And while the local police were indifferent when the residents living next to the construction site had their water supply shut off, they were extremely eager to arrest Baxter for shooting his film.
Trump and his Scottish allies refused to be interviewed, so it is no surprise that their side of the story is shaped by their detractors. And an update would have been welcomed for this DVD release – this 2011 film ends with the notice of Trump’s toying with a possible presidential run in 2012.
Needless to say, American-style capitalism never looked so ugly.