There are few things as relaxing as sitting on the water with a fishing pool in hand. A sort of meditative state takes over as one rocks back and forth not knowing exactly when a fish will bite, just that with enough time answers will be provided. It’s a rather intriguing notion if not impractical; wait long enough and good fortune will come to you. Lasse Halström explores this idea as well as what it takes to create a miracle in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Comedy, tragedy, action, romance and a whole lot of fly fishing make this film a heart-warming adventure, though that may be because of the excessive cheesiness of it all.
Dr Alfred “Fred” Jones (Ewan McGregor) is a fisheries expert in the United Kingdom called upon by a sheik’s consultant with the intent of finding a way to introduce salmon fishing in the Yeman — see what they did there? Writing the idea off as “fundamentally infeasible,” Jones sees no point in wasting time humouring a man with too much money. It seems Fred doesn’t understand just how rich the sheik is as £50 million is deposited into an account for them to begin planning this ludicrous undertaking.
Following a streak of good fortune in the beginning it seems this once fundamentally infeasible project is proving itself “theoretically possible.” In addition to their success it appears Fred and the sheik’s consultant, Harriett (Emily Blunt), have gotten closer but each is involved in a complicated relationship. As world news circuits begin to pick up the story of fishing in Yemen, Fred and Harriett will have to put their own lives on hold to help show to the world just how powerful a miracle can be.
The chemistry between McGregor and Blunt feels very genuine which allows their characters to come together even though it would mean being unfaithful to former lovers. Salmon Fishing… does well taking time with this where other romance stories fail to address it, which can make the main characters seem cold and uncaring. Supporting performances by Amir Waked and Kristen Scott Thomas allowed this story to be viewed through a variety of perspectives.
This film is delightful in many ways but certain editing choices added unnecessary distraction. A conversation between an MP and the head of media relations is shown through instant messenger and used for quick political one-liners. This does not work at all and removes the audience from the narrative. Odd moments of real action (the likes of which a man is murdered without a second thought) interrupt at different intervals without ever really being addressed.
After about the first hour it becomes very clear how this story is going to play out and who will be with whom in the end. Salmon Fishing… is nice in the sense of having a nice clean finish where nothing is left high and dry. This romance drama encourages to swim against the stream and accomplish something bigger than yourself.
UK Rating: 12A
DVD/BD Release Date: 3 September 2012 (UK)
Director : Lasse Hallström
Writers : Simon Beaufoy (screenplay), Paul Torday (novel)
Cast : Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amir Waked, and Kristen Scott Thomas