Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

25 Sep


Director: Lasse Hallström

Writers: Simon Beaufoy, Paul Torday (novel)

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Amr Waked

Motion Picture Rating: 12A

Runtime: 107 minutes



There was a time, not that long ago, when I went out of my way to miss films that featured Ewan McGregor. He thoroughly annoyed me. Wooden, half-arsed acting, that peculiar grin of his and yet he still landed good roles. I didn’t understand it and instantly took a dim view of those three Star Wars episodes and the likes of Big Fish and The Island. However, I am altering my position and this film is a part of the process that started with The Ghost and then included Beginners and Perfect Sense (both reviewed here on SSR). McGregor is winning me over.

In this film McGregor nicely inhabits the role of an old before his time government fisheries expert. As Dr Alfred Jones he wears natty shirt, tie and cardigan combinations and is stiff and off-hand with his colleagues. At home he has a sober, but passionless and faltering marriage. McGregor retains his natural Scottish accent for the role and layers on a rather dour and sarcastic personality to great effect (all rather Gordon Brown). Dr Jones’ uneventful life changes when a representative of a sheikh approaches him with a project to develop salmon fishing in the Yemen that is seized upon by a UK government spin doctor looking for positive middle eastern news. He tries to resist the sheikh’s “theoretically possible” pet project, but is forced to participate.

Along with McGregor there is the hard working, but always fresh Emily Blunt supporting the sheikh and Kristin Scott Thomas as the interfering government PR wonk. It is a nice ensemble with Amr Waked equally effective as Sheikh Muhammed. Scott Thomas channels a bit of Malcolm Tucker so her scenes have a nice touch of The Thick of It about them. Apart from the odd bit of twee spiritual twaddle coming from the sheikh, it is difficult to fault the film. It has that nice, slow and lazy Sunday afternoon feel to it and that’s not such a bad thing. McGregor and Blunt are charming together and for once director Lasse Hallstrom keeps it tight and refrains from over sentimentality.

One Response to “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”


  1. » Movie Review – Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (Mini Review) Fernby Films - February 5, 2013

    […] Salmon Fishing in the Yemen […]

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