Title: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas
Review by: Allan
“Yet another one of those titles that tells you pretty much what you are getting.”
When Dr. Alfred Jones (McGregor) receives an e-mail from Ms Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Blunt) on behalf of her wealthy client regarding the possibility of fly-fishing in the harsh climate of the Yemen he obviously deems it a preposterous idea. However when political motivations – mainly via spin doctor Patricia Maxwell (Scott Thomas) Dr Jones , aided with the threat of redundancy, he puts to one side his misgivings in the scheme and becomes a consultant. Financed by Sheikh Muhammed (Waked) the fifty million pound vanity project is overseen by a reluctant Dr. Jones and professional assistant Ms Chetwode-Talbot thrust together take a journey from the cold greyness of London to the sparse sun drenched Yemen via the lush greenery of the Scottish Highlands.
He is a nearly humourless but highly intelligent man stuck in a lacklustre marriage. She is a young bright talented woman hopelessly in love with a soldier recently sent to the front line. Meanwhile the Sheikh is a visionary with dreams and aspirations for his people that aren’t always popular.
Can the chalk and cheese couple bring fish to the inhospitable landscape? Does an assassination attempt really fit into a feel good movie? Is three weeks too soon to fall head over heels in love with someone?
Adapted from Paul Torday’s novel by the ever reliable Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire) Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is an unusual mix of gentle rom-com, political satire and drama. The laugh out loud moments are surprisingly frequent but there is an almost equal amount of emotional outpourings in between all the standard love conquers practically anything hurdles. Blunt and McGregor make a likable, attractive if typically unlikely couple. They are perfectly supported by Amr Waked as the passionate rich man and Kristin Scott Thomas as the Malcolm Tucker-esque mistress of spin.
With some very pretty visuals and vistas the direction by Lasse Hallström lifts the film from a standard Sunday evening TV movie to something just about worthy of the big screen treatment. It should do wonders for tourism, probably more the wilds of Scotland than the Yemen.
The biggest problems are with some of the shifts in tone, an occasional sluggish plot, the logic in characters motivations and the limited screen time of Kristin Scott Thomas who steals the film. None of which affects the overall enjoyment of the movie that should leave a warm fuzzy feeling in even the coldest of hearts.
In conclusion, a surprisingly charming wee flick that while hardly the feel good movie of the year; it should put a smile on your face for most of this month.