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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: July 22: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen


July 22: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

"A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheikh's vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible."
Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom, Rated: PG-13, 107 minutes 

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the kind of sweet film that can be enjoyed as it is, without any need to scrutinize it any further. It's a charming little drama that tells a rather unusual story about perseverance and faith. It's a film that's commanded by its lead performances and beautiful cinematography and turns what could have easily been a ridiculous idea into something worthwhile. It is not saying that the film is without its flaws, but as an overall piece of story-telling, it surely succeeds. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a delight to watch and delves into topics just deep enough to care about, without having to get too invested in what is going on. There is no constant sense of dread or even a lot of interpersonal conflict as much as it is the story of a couple of people trying their hardest to make something seemingly impossible, possible. 

The story follows Fred (Ewan McGregor), an expert in fisheries and a master fisherman who's known around the world for his knowledge and craftsmanship (he makes flies). He's hired by a firm to introduce salmon to a region in the Yemen, at the request of a sheikh who will play whatever it takes to make it happen. The firm's representative, Harriet (Emily Blunt), is matched up with Fred as a partner in the project and as the two struggle to find a way to make the seemingly impossible happen, they grow closer. The film is certainly a tale of romance but it never really falls into the cheesy rom-com feel and is actually very enjoyable. I've always stated how McGregor has chemistry with nearly everyone and everything he interacts with and it's certainly the case with Salmon Fishing in the YemenMcGregor and Blunt have remarkable chemistry together and every time they share the screen, it's a joy to watch. As the story itself is not the most interesting, the cast elevates it into something worth your time. Kristin Scott Thomas and Amr Waked also deliver great supporting performances with Thomas adding a bit of comic relief to the drama and Waked playing the man of faith (the sheikh), who wants to see the salmon running up the streams in the Yemen as a sign of hope and growth for his people. 

See? Just looking at him and BAM! chemistry. 

There's really not a whole lot to discuss about the film because it's beautifully simple as it is. It's not necessarily a movie that needs to be seen but it's charming enough to seek out on a rainy day or when you want something light. It's not without its flaws, as some of the film is a little slow, and parts are very predictable, but when you have such likable leads, the flaws are easy to ignore. I would certainly recommend Salmon Fishing in the Yemen for the performances alone and the great camerawork that turns a heart-warming story into something much more beautiful.

The Good:
Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt shining in their roles and sharing terrific chemistry
The Bad:
some weak pacing that drags the film out a bit too long in some places
The Ugly:
wondering how bad this movie would have turned out had it not been for the two leads

Overall: 6.8/10


I want to apologize for the short review today, as I have been incredibly busy this weekend. I am going out of town for a couple of weeks come Wednesday, so my reviews may be a little short and sparse until I get back. But, once I return, I will be diving right into my third edition of "Nic Cage Week". 

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At July 23, 2012 at 6:23 AM , Blogger said...

While I like McGregor this film trailer looked made the film look like a slow bus ride to dullsville. My 62 year-old mom enjoyed it my dad not so much lol

I look forward to Nic Cage Week :-)

At July 23, 2012 at 3:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two different views of the same film on the same day. Very cool.

At July 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I got an email from you (as I follow your blog like the awesome man I am) showing your review of the film and thought it was funny as well lol. I'll make my way over to your site very soon.

At July 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Oh, if you think the first two Nic Cage weeks were fun, this one's going to be bigger, better, and more over-the-top Cagey.


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