Charms of cast save “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

By Wesley Emblidge

The title “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” might seem to be some sort of metaphorical title, but in fact it’s exactly what the film centers on. The consultant (Emily Blunt) for a sheik in Yemen (Amr Waked) attempts to get help from a fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) on how they might introduce salmon into the unwelcoming waters of the Yemen, simply so the sheik can enjoy fishing. It doesn’t appear to be a particularly compelling story, and being entirely fictional doesn’t really help that much. However the story fits the film, for although not a bad one, there’s nothing particularly interesting or remarkable in the film, save the charisma of it’s cast.

That’s a shame, as the people behind the film certainly could have made the it a success. Three-time Oscar nominated director Lasse Hallström, who as of late hasn’t fared too well (his last film being “Dear John”), directs without any passion for the material, letting the actors do the work. Even more disappointing was the writer, Simon Beaufoy, who won an Oscar for “Slumdog Millionaire” and was nominated last year for “127 Hours.” But it seems Beaufoy as well hasn’t added much to this film either. However as I said before, the actors save it from being too empty.

The charms of McGregor and Blunt are great, but by far the best part of the film is any scene with Kristin Scott Thomas. She plays a British press secretary who supports the project in order to have good news coming out of the Middle East, in light of a recent bombing. Her ferocity and manipulativeness is hilarious, making every scene she appears in gold.

All of that is just barely enough to keep this film afloat, the themes (when they even appear) are heavy handed, even just flat out stated, and the story is hard to care much about, or consider so “remarkable” as the characters do.

3.5/5 Stars