This movie has all the elements of a great movie. If you look at it from a laundry list of its assets you have the potential for a really great film. Before you ask yourself “why do I want to see a fishing movie”; let me explain, fly fishing is only an element in the movie and not center of attention. The story surrounds two unlikely people who are brought together by a Sheik’s passion for salmon fishing.
Fred Jones (Ewan McGregor) works for the British government as a fisheries scientist his life is full of angst dealing with his boorish pencil pushing boss and writing reports on the feeding habits of fish. He gets an E-mail from Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) asking what it would take to get Salmon to relocate to the wadis of the highlands of the Yemen. Harriet works for Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) who has a vision about bring not just fish but prosperity to the people in the region.
Fred writes the e-mail off as a prank and writes back with a cheeky response. Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) is looking for some good news from the Middle East to give to the PM a good will story that will end in some great press. Building a bridge with the voting fishing community is just what she is looking for. She pulls some strings and Fred and Harriet are now working on a project that was completely inconceivable.
This story takes them from three completely different worlds and brings them out of their normal lives and exposes them to a world that makes them change as drastically as they are changing the environment.
This is a romantic comedy drama, a romcomdrom if you will. With so many elements it really spreads itself too thin, only touching on each of the different kinds of movies but not really diving deeply into the complexity of the relationships. It’s a shame because of the really great talent they brought together. The Director (Lasse Hallstrom) works with this kind of film a lot and this film feels like he is in a rut. He did not do a bad job with this film but he did not do a great job either.
The cinematography was excellent. There are some shots that really parallel the struggles of modern humans and the animal kingdom. The landscape is wonderful to look at with the prime locations to film in. Scotland is visually contrasted to the desert of Morocco, but each is beautiful in different ways.
When dealing with a Middle East based story you can’t avoid exploring the political and theological conflicts in the region. This movie does pose the questions of how to bring our cultures together; fishing is something that the characters use as a starting off point. I am really over thinking this but I think the take away for this story is that we have to talk with people to understand what our true common grounds are and start from there. I might have missed the point of this light hearted film.
This movie did make me think about how much we look at the Middle East and only hear about the radical factions and the violence. I have to remember that not everyone has the same ideas and feelings as what we see in the news. There are people over there that have the same loves as we have. Maybe they feel the same way about this film? Maybe that’s our starting off point?
The Blu-ray edition of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen will be out July 17, 2012 presented in 1080p video and 5.1 DTS-hd Master Audio. An UltraViolet digital copy will be included.
A pair of bonus features included are ‘Miracles Happen: Making Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ and ‘The Fisherman in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday.’
To see the trailer of “Salmon Fishingin the Yemen: