Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Advice to those who find the title a turnoff: sell the family silver, raise the funds and get down there! You won't be disappointed.

The plot in a nut: Arab prince has a passion for fishing. He wants to bring salmon to the Yemen. Civil servants close to the British government are told to set it up. Everyone thinks the idea barmy.

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Enter a PR girlie (Emily Blunt) with a double barreled name who is handling the prince's account in the UK. She contacts Dr Jones (Ewan McGregor), a so-called Scottish expert, who tells her to forget the whole idea because North Atlantic salmon would not appreciate Middle Eastern desert conditions.

Things change when the prince provides 50 million dollars to kick start the enterprise. The Prime Minister's press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas in cracking form) goes into hyper drive.

Jones and the prince get on like a tent on fire.

"It would be an act of God," his royalness intones.

"I'm more of a fact and figures man myself," the Scot replies.

Jones and Miss Chetwode-Talbot get on even better. He's married to an executive high flyer, one if those knuckle hard glass ceiling smash'n'grabettes from Glasgow who finds household chores repugnant and conjugal rights unnecessarily messy, while C-T's dishy boyfriend has been reported missing in action in Afghanistan.

What takes the film out of the running mill of flim-flam feelgoodness are the performances, the witty script and director Lasse Hallstrom's steady hand and eye.

For those who have written McGregor off as a charm school B-lister watch him work with such subtlety and restraint on the character of an undervalued lapsed Presbyterian ("I don't know anyone who goes to church anymore. On Sundays we go to Tescos"). Blunt is equally natural and impressive.

The fishing sequence, with Jones and the prince, on a small river in the Highlands, is a bit naff. You don't wade thigh deep into water when you can cast from one bank to the other.

But the film ribs civil servants mercilessly and proves that rom-coms don't have to be brain dead. They can be exactly what the PM wants, "an Anglo Arab news story about something that doesn't explode."

Reviewed on: 19 Mar 2014
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When an idealistic sheikh persuades a fisheries expert to try and introduce salmon to the Yemen, the expert soon finds himself himself out of his depth, but love blossoms along the way.
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Amber Wilkinson **

Director: Lasse Halström

Writer: Simon Beaufoy, based on the novel by Paul Torday

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas, Amr Waked, Rachael Stirling, Tom Mison, Conleth Hill, Catherine Steadman, Tom Beard, Nayef Rashed, Waleed Akhtar, Jill Baker

Year: 2011

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK


Glasgow 2012

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