Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
One important life lesson I’ve learned in school is that I can’t help change something unless I change something about myself. When you throw yourself into a task that seems impossible, the only thing that’s going to get you though it is more then facts and figures. A little faith can make a difference. All of this is examined in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
Everyone has experience of hearing someone’s crazy dream. We may not believe it, but one person’s insanity is another person’s passion. The dream here is the sport of fishing. I’m not an angler, but understand why the Sheik wants to bring this sport to the Yemen. In an area of the Earth that’s dangerous, hot, and miserable, fishing can bring a moment of piece without seeming like a waste of time. These people that wait patiently enough are going to catch a prize. So how is fishing going to come to the dessert?
In order to catch a fish, you need to think like a fish. Ewan McGregor plays Dr. Fred Jones, a man with Aspergers who is also the UK’s Government expert in fisheries. He’s called upon by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, played by Emily Blunt, who acts as a consultant for the sheik. Together, they are given a task that other government officials think cannot happen. Even Jones thinks that the idea is a joke, until the sheik deposits fifty million pounds in order to get the project going.
This movie doesn’t belong to the fish. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is Jones’ story. This movie follows the story of an isolated man who opens himself into a world that’s not run by facts and figures. McGregor pulls off a fish expert whose defiantly socially awkward, but not too arrogant. It’s nice to see a character in a movie who’s in the autistic spectrum, without being a crazy person. Here, I see someone who can get better with a little social interaction.
For most of the movie, he’s interacting with Talbot. She has a boyfriend who has been sent out too the Middle East for the war. She seems more keen on helping the sheik, but not working with Jones. But when they interact, Talbot discovers a great guy in the fishing expert. While I thought Emily Blunt played the part well, this was not her movie. It’s not her fault, but I think she’s too beautiful for a role like this. They needed a mousier actress to pull off this kind of role. This is one of the few weaknesses.
Where this movie does succeed is in the cinematography. Each location (England, Scotland, and Yemen) is shot very beautifully. When the movie needs to be misty and green in the North, it gives us that. When the story needs to show the dry and rocky dessert of Yemen, it does it damn well. Of course, all the fishing imagery is great. Never have I seen such great footage of people casting out to catch their salmon.
Speaking of the fishing, I would have liked to seen more of the political tension in England over bringing the fish to Yemen. But that’s not what the movie wanted to be. The point of this story was show how people change when they don’t know it.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen will get 4 out of 5 fishing lures. While this may not stir up political discussions about fishing or the Middle East, this is a very good feel good story. This is a positive pond to find a prize in.