Based on a novel, parlayed into a screenplay by the man who helped bring "127 Hours" and "Slumdog Millionaire" to life and directed by the man behind "The Cider House Rules" and "Chocolat": "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" has some serious heft behind it. And with due cause; there's a lot going on, and without this collective experience "Salmon Fishing" could have easily been swept away under the current of its own story.
"Salmon Fishing" follows the work of fisheries expert Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) and professional consultant Harriet (Emily Blunt) in their efforts to bring the sport of fly fishing – and the environment and fish needed for it – to Yemen at the request of Harriet's wealthy client, Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked). The project gets put on the fast track after entering the orbit of enterprising British government PR woman Patricia Maxwell (played brilliantly by Kristin Scott Thomas) and forces the odd collective to bring the sheikh's dream out of the realm of impossibility and into the arid lands of the Middle East.
The monumental task also brings the two leads closer together as they overcome their own opposition and unite through their work. Not Hollywood's usual tawdry love connection, the duo is motivated by mutual respect and affection, yet countered by their individual romantic complications (his stifling marriage and her soldier boyfriend). This plot line rides alongside the main story as a respectable passenger, taking the wheel long enough to get the audiences invested in the characters but not so long that it hogs the driver's seat.
The main driving force, of course, is the quest to bring fishing to the desert. It's the spiritual and idealistic intentions of the sheikh that add substance to the story and help both plot and subplot thrive as a literal/metaphorical yin and yang.
Much of "Salmon Fishing" is infused with this dogged optimism, including its pleasantly surprising leaps into comedic territory. Despite being yet another cog i…Read more...