MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★
Featuring one of cinema’s less attractive titles, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is at least about exactly what it says on the tin: salmon fishing in the Yemen. If a plot concerning geography, ecology, politics and the British civil service all tied into a loosely romantic comedy plot isn’t enough to get your heart racing, well what more do you want?Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stars Ewan McGregor, who seems to be picking up a bit of a habit of playing the very similar role of a nice, quiet guy going through something of a personal crisis during early-middle age in smallish indie films (see last year’s Beginners and Perfect Sense for two more examples of him playing exactly this same sort of character). This time he plays Dr Alfred Jones, a fishery expert in the civil service who is recruited to help realize a sheik’s strange and unfeasible dream and introduce a salmon population to the Yemen. Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) is a nice, socially and environmentally aware sheikh whose personal assistant, Harriet (Emily Blunt) becomes close to Alfred despite both already being in difficult relationships. Kristen Scott-Thomas plays the Prime Minister’s press secretary, adding a nice comedic touch as the government endeavor to manufacture the fishery story into positive PR between Britain and the Middle East.
This isn’t the funniest or sharpest movie you’ll ever see but nevertheless it still holds onto something rather sweet, or at least sweet enough to make it perfectly passable. The film begins by being quirky for the sake of being quirky (Salmon fishing? In the Yemen?!) but eventually it gets a grip on itself, creating a nice little piscine story of self-discovery. There’s a rather odd terrorist sub-plot which really doesn’t fit the tone but it just about holds together because all the characters seem rather likeable. Not a film that you need to rush out to see, but it gives enough to pass the time.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is out on 20th April in the UK. Running time 107 mins. Certificate 12a (UK).
Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.
Review by David Rank