salmon fishing in the yemen 2011 (dir: lasse hallstrom; starring: emily blunt, ewan mcgregor, kristin scott thomas)
lasse hallstrom is a swedish director who has brought us delightful art house favorites like chocolat, what’s eating gilbert grape, and the cider house rules. and he’s done it again with salmon fishing in the yemen. ewan mcgregor plays a straight forward, no nonsense fisheries expert who is approached by a smart financial consultant (emily blunt) who is tasked with the project of helping her client, a sheik (amr maked), bring salmon to the desert in yemen. at first, jones is a skeptical and unwilling party in this mission. the sheik, who has a passion for fly fishing, believes that creating a sustainable ecosystem within the desert would help his community and the generations to come. he toasts one night at dinner “to faith and fish.” as they undergo this seemingly impossible project, jones becomes passionate and him and harriet become a surprising team. they both use the work as a welcome distraction from the troubles in their personal lives.
the camera work is creative with its use of dynamic visual techniques. one shot from overhead of a crowd of people resembles fish scrambling upstream. the casting is spot on. not a bad performance in the bunch. kristin scott thomas plays the assistant to the british prime minister. she is also using the salmon angle as a distraction: distracting the press from the bad political news of late. she is feisty and ballsy and great in this role.
i didn’t expect to like a movie about salmon fishing or yemen. the description of the movie did not interest me in the slightest. blunt and mcgregor were nominated for golden globes which put it on my radar. I like both actors and when I saw it playing on hbo I decided to give it a shot and I’m glad I did.
eye roll rating: 1