Saturday, March 31, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012)

Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom
Starring: Ewam McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas

An extraordinarily rich sheik (Amr Waked) has a vision of bringing his love of salmon fishing to his home country in order to enrich the lives of his local people.  Sparing no expense, the sheik contacts his representative to the British Government, Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) and tells her to use whatever means necessary to get the project up and running. Harriet enlists the help of the British government's leading fisheries expert, Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor.)  The plot gets another twist when The British Prime Minister's assistant (Kristin Scott Thomas) sees an opportunity to smooth relations between the Yemen and British people by turning the salmon project into a  "goodwill" story.  What is obvious is that Harriet and Alfred are going to fall in love, even though they are (momentarily) involved with other people. What is not obvious is how the fish will actually get to the Yemen.

While the performances of all characters in the film were good, I was confused as to what genre this film should actually be in. The picture gets lost somewhere between a heart-warming drama and a romantic comedy. There are just too many different plots in this film; a love story between Alfred and Harriet, a "greater good" story with the salmon, and a political story about two countries and their different ways of life.  The fly-fishing scenes (combined with a beautiful score) in the film captured the essence of man in touch with nature. As an avid fisherman myself, I found these scenes to be quite enjoyable.  Adapted from the novel of the same name, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen has all the ingredients to be a great film, but director Lassee Hallstrom comes up short in making the narrative mesh with the different plots in the story.

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