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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Film Review

 

 

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Film Review

 

 

An unlikely title, and an unlikely idea, but a gentle and interesting film nonetheless.

 

There’s an Arab sheik who happens to own a fabulous estate in the Scottish highlands who becomes hooked, if you will pardon the pun, on salmon fishing, so much so that he wants to introduce such a thing into his homeland and guess what? Money is no object!

 

There’s a British government department, headed up by an evil looking Kristin Scott Thomas, who’s faced with one lot of bad Arabic news after another, and she’s desperate for some feelgood news to present to the PM and the Arab world. She gets to hear about the crazy idea (of salmon fishing in the Yemen) and she’s all for it. Pull out all the stops, she says. It’s just what we need!!

 

There’s Ewan McGregor playing an unhappily married fishing expert called Fred Jones working for the Fisheries ministry and when he hears of the ridiculous idea he can't stop laughing, and scoffing. It’s quite impossible. Just forget it!

 

There’s a pretty young woman called Harriet double barrel something or other, played by Emily Blunt, who works for some kind of Public Relations company representing the sheik and his billions, and she’s on the case and is keen to persuade Fred that anything is possible. Mind you Harriet is somewhat disorientated as she has just found a new handsome man, but almost as soon as she’s found him, he’s shipped off to Afghanistan with all the worries that brings.

 

Fred meets the sheik and likes him, and likes his Scottish estate and his fishing too, and before you know it he also likes Harriet, so there you have the beginning of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. So far, so good… maybe, all fairly predictable perhaps.

 

But then things start to go wrong. Fred is a dull and somewhat disengaged character and frankly I didn’t find him too believable, and I found it even more stretching credibility that Harriet could possibly be interested in such a down in the mouth dullard.

 

But Fred’s now charged with finding 10,000 happy salmon because the project is going ahead, despite the fact that almost everyone thinks it’s a ludicrous idea. He’s now wrestling with the thought of how to get his funky fishies all the way out to the sheik’s homeland.

 

I got round to thinking about whether such a proposal was remotely possible long before the film finished, and was keen to see the credits to see where on location much of the picture was made.

 

Was it in the Yemen? Nope it wasn’t. Filmed in Morocco, and is there such a thing as salmon fishing in the Yemen? Answer, no there isn’t, indeed the Yemeni government has been forced to put out a press release saying precisely that, just in case tourists were disappointed, in case you are thinking of going, though last time I looked Yemen was a very dangerous place indeed, and I wouldn’t have thought there would be that many tourists heading that way in any case.

 

But don’t let that put you off, the film that is, for it’s fiction right? Of course it is, the film of the book written by the recently deceased Paul Torday who died in December 2013 aged just 67, and writers who write fiction can write whatever the heck they like. That is what writers do, make up stuff.

 

The film certainly has its moments though I didn’t find it “hilarious” as some of the over the top reviewers would have it, but it is a gentle film made by BBC films with an occasional laugh and some nice cinematography.

 

There are plenty of twists and turns before its all over and it’s a 12 certificate too so all the family could watch, though I suspect the younger audience would find it terribly dull.

 

I didn’t, I quite enjoyed it, though it just wasn’t as good as I expected and hoped, but if you like romcoms and similar capers I suspect that you will enjoy this too.

But don't take my word for it - here's the official trailer and you can make up your own mind.

 

 

 

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