WRAPPED in a sheikh’s vision to bring salmon, fishing and water to the Yemen, the movie is essentially a love story. But more than that, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is about having faith in your dreams and the need to work together to make a project successful.
Sounds serious, but this is a wacky film, really, starting with the title itself. A festival pleaser when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2011, Salmon Fishing is an undemanding watch.
The story is about a sheikh (Amr Waked) who wants to start salmon fishing in his country to bring both the sport and prosperity to the dry wasteland of Yemen.
It is a tough job — so strange that it is hilarious. Salmon needs water but Yemen is dry, as fisheries expert Dr Alfred (Ewan McGregor) explains to public relations go-fer Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt).
Dr Alfred would rather be left in peace to do his own thing in his department — which seems very little apart from writing boring pieces about fishing and bait. And he hates his boss, who also seems to do nothing much as the case of most bureaucrats.
As the tale flows on, all things can be surmounted with money, brains and some ingenuity. Even a ludicrous desert fish idea.
In time-honoured fashion of most rom-coms, love slowly moves from small fights to awkward blossoming in Yemen’s dry wadi (valley), just as the sheikh’s vision begins to flower.
The movie is not slow. The action moves fast, with sharp takes unlike some really long pans I’ve had to sit through in many an art film. You will enjoy the cinematography by Terry Stacey.
The dialogue also lived up to my esteem of British films. Witty, absurd, dry.
Kristin Scott Thomas as the British Prime Minister’s press secretary Patricia Maxwell is a hoot! So is the satirical take on the media, spin doctoring and governments.
Of the cast, I found Thomas and McGregor brought great commitment to their character portrayals.
Some may come away with a germ of an idea that Salmon Fishing In The Yemen might be metaphor for some incidents in real-life. But with the hype around The Dark Knight Rises, you will find plenty of reasons to enjoy this subtly played tale.
SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN
Directed by Lasse Hallstrom
Starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked