Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
I had the chance to see three films last Friday because the titles all sounded very cool, however, we shouldn't go to see a film solely based on its title (except if the film is called "Chocolat" which interestingly enough was directed by Lasse Hallestron, the same man who directed this film but, I digress) with that in mind I'm only gonna tell you about one that I really liked and not the two I didn’t.
The last time I saw Ewan McGregor in a movie it was an excellent film called The Ghost (or Ghost Writer as it was known in some quarters). Other characters in this film include the very beautiful English Rose now residing in France Kristin Scott Thomas, Emily Blunt who also starred in "The devil wears Prada" as the suck up P.A to Meryl Streep and finally Amr Waked who plays a Sheik from Yemen.
I thought this film had a strange title and because of this thought, I decided to watch it first and (metaphorically) get it out of the way. The truth of the matter is that it turned out to be the best film that I had watched that day (or in the case of the second one on my list, slept through; don't ask, ain't telling you).
So now you know the principle characters, here’s the plot.
Fred Jones (McGregor) is a British government expert in fisheries. When consultant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), representing a wealthy Yemeni sheikh (Waked), asks for help to fulfil the sheikh's vision to introduce salmon fishing to the desert country of Yemen, Fred rejects the idea as unfeasible. The scene where Fred is Showing Harriet on a map the unfeasibility of the idea is comic genius but, I digress.
Also take into consideration that Fred's wife is a very ambitious woman, more driven to be a success at work than at home. Scott Thomas is driven too and Harriet has recently entered into a three week relationship with a soldier. The Sheik is a man who appears to be self indulgent but on closer inspection is a moderniser.
The British Prime Minister's press secretary, Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas who I reckon got her inspiration for the character from Tony Blair's Press Secretary, the legendary Alistair Campbell) takes an active role in this project. Why? To showcase this as an example of Anglo-Arab co-operation with the aim to distract British voters from on-going bad news coming from out of Afghanistan, and thus pressures Fred into working with Harriet and the Sheikh to implement the project.
Threatened with a P45 by his direct line manager who's also being pressured by his boss Patricia (which I've had many in my life and two in the last 2 yrs), he (Fred) sees the error in his reluctance and gradually comes to believe in the Sheikh's quest.
Here are a few facts about the fishing industry in this far away country.
The fishing industry in Yemen has considerable potential but is vastly under-exploited. For example in 1998, the fishing sector employed some 41,000 people, mainly family owned businesses operating small vessels.
In 1998, 127,000 tons of fish were caught in Yemen. Due to the closeness of the areas that Somali pirates operate from, the fishing industry has suffered.
The film is based on the comedy book Paul Torday wrote called (interestingly enough), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, it’s about a westerner's commission to introduce salmon to the wadis of the Yemen highlands.
Also do note that a man called Simon Beafoy was commissioned to do the screen play for this film. Now you may not know this man but you will know and appreciate his previous work that includes; The Full Monty, Slum dog Millionaire and the Rock climbing disaster movie (which due to its nature I couldn't watch but do rate it) 127hrs. He's currently writing Catching Fire which is the sequel to The Hunger Games.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film because it's easy on the eye and ear. Also the script is funny without being vulgar and crass.
All the western characters in the film have varying relationship problems that contribute to their decision making, but the film doesn't focus too much on this rather it gently skirts around them, because it's a comedy drama not drama comedy.
How does this comedy resolve the complex love issues of the characters without it detracting from the feel good factor of the movie or should I ask "can it resolve these issues?”
For the answer to both questions, go watch it and see...
If you enjoyed the titles of films I’ve mentioned in my review then you'll love this...
Article by @gmanzen / 23rd April 2012
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