Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

(M) Roadshow DVD/BD

There’s a definite faith message in the film here. It’s probably not the kind you might expect though, and you’ll have to search through the engineered quirkiness to find it.

Written by Simon Beaufoy, directed by Lasse Hallström and based on the 2006 bestseller by Paul Torday, Salmon Fishing is one of those feel good, quirk-heavy romantic dramedies that you would normally dismiss as light and fluffy but, due to some altogether engaging performances from Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, it works.

McGregor is Dr Fred Jones, a fisheries scientist bordering on neurotic. He finds himself dragged into a hare-brained scheme, dreamed up by a fishing-crazed sheikh (Amr Waked), to introduce salmon fishing to the Yemen.

Grumpy and sceptical at first at first, Fred wonders what all of us would: is it even possible to let salmon run on the dusty plains of Yemen? But he is won over by the sheikh when he is invited to his English house and fly fishes with him and listens to his passionate plan about irrigating the land and leaving a legacy for his people.

Also persuaded by the sheikh’s beautiful aide Harriet (Emily Blunt), Fred is encouraged to take a leap of faith and give the scheme a go.

This is a romantic comedy so there is, of course, a side-order of romance with the salmon.

The weakest link perhaps is Kristin Scott Thomas playing a government PR chief looking for a good news story. She seems like she should be in another, crasser film than this meandering and quiet comedy.

If you can ignore the eye-rolling and lip-pursing of Scott, this is a rewarding and metaphorically interesting way to spend an hour and a half. Even if you find the faith analogies laid on with a trowel, it’s a light, undemanding and entertaining Brit-charmer.

Adrian Drayton

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