Title: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Screenplay by: Simon Beaufoy
Based on: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas, Amr Waked
Running time: 107 minutes
Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) is a slightly dull, unhappily married, middle aged, Scientist at the Department of Fisheries & Agriculture. He likes fishing and basically just wants to be left alone to do his job. That is until his boss forced him to meet Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, (Emily Blunt) a young and optimistic consultant that handles the dreams and desires of the wealthy sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) from Yemen.
Sheikh Muhammed has the crazy idea to introduce salmon fishing to the Yemen. He employees Alfred and Harriet to help him after the story is picked up by Patricia Maxwell – the Prime Minister's press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) as a "good will" story to ease strained relations between Yemen and the UK.
The story is pretty silly, but it was a best selling book so it clearly has to be intriguing. Indeed the story is a fun and is compelling and the Simon Beaufoy's script is nicely written. Of course, as per usual, despite the odds, a love interest does develop between the two likeable leads but McGregor and Blunt, to their credit, do make it believable. Their performances throughout are enjoyable.
Lasse Hallstrom directs with all of the confidence and skill that you would expect from a director of his calibre without too often wandering into overly sentimental territory.
Ultimately Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a love story that is well told, wrapped in the fantastical tale of a sheikh with a crazy, but likable idea, to bring a sport and tourism to his country. It’s not the sort of film to keep you thinking for days afterwards, or one that will stir up much emotion, or conversation afterwards. It’s effective without being too affecting, inoffensive and fun, without being a film you might want to watch over and over again. It’s middle of the stream but it’s by far from the worst film you could catch this year.