Friday, February 7, 2014

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012) [PG-13] ****

A wealthy Yemeni sheik (played by Amr Waked) believes that by sharing his passion for the sport of salmon fly-fishing, he can enrich the lives of the Yemeni people, as well as increase the agricultural diversity and environmental beauty in his desert country. He has built a dam, created a large lake, and envisions importing thousands of wild Atlantic salmon, regardless of the expense. The London firm managing his investments in the U.K. is given responsibility for the project, but when project manager Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) contacts Britain’s leading fisheries expert, Dr. Alfred Fred Jones (Ewan McGregor) he tells her that the idea of introducing cold-water salmon into Yemen's harsh, desert environment is ridiculous. Then, the Prime Minister’s zealous press secretary (played by Kristin Scott Thomas) gets wind of the story in her search for some good news to publish, to divert attention from the war in Afghanistan, and the project becomes a top government priority.

The film contains diverse, and occasionally conflicting, plot threads of romantic tension, life-threatening drama, bureaucratic light comedy, ecological awareness, international relations, and spiritual faith. At times, it also feels like a PBS documentary on salmon and fly-fishing. Taken together, they give Salmon Fishing in the Yemen a subtle complexity and unpredictability. For example, one sub-plot involves Harriet’s army officer boyfriend Robert (Tom Mison) who is on assignment in Afghanistan; another involves Fred’s tense relationship with his wife Mary (played by Rachael Stirling).

The chemistry between Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor is undeveloped, so if you expect a replay of the romantic chemistry between Emily Blunt and Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau, you will be disappointed. It isn’t clear that Harriet and Fred will be together at the end of the film, or if they will be successful in their attempt to establish wild salmon in the rivers of Yemen. Regardless, if you enjoy multi-layered romantic comedy-drama in which the happy ending is not assured, and especially if you like Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor, you might enjoy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Labels: comedy, drama, romance   

Internet Movie Database   
Metacritic 58/100   
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=62, viewers=70)   

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