Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

By , Senior Tab reporter on

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JIM ROSS wants to take this insipid romance and just throw it back in the water.

Directed by Lasse Hallström


Don’t you just love a simple film with some good on screen chemistry? Aren’t you relaxed by watching a humorous and endearing film, which still alludes to the issues of the day? A film with solid acting from the main stars? A familiar tale that doesn’t slip into cliché? I like all these things as well and it sounds like an enjoyable film – sadly, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen has none of these qualities.

Director Lasse Hallström’s film, based on a Paul Torday novel, follows the travails of Ewan McGregor, a government fisheries expert, and Emily Blunt to bring the ‘sport’ of salmon fishing to the wadis of Yemen – a project which is the brainchild of Sheikh Muhammad. As the Sheikh’s personal assistant and assets manager, Emily Blunt is employed to solicit the expertise of McGregor. On her side is the Prime Minister’s Press Officer, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, who wants the project to succeed in order to have some good news coming out of the Middle East.

At least, I think Emily Blunt’s hilariously vague job can be described as such – Lasse Hallström is rather unconcerned with details in this film. He is far more eager to focus our attention on the insipid romance between Blunt and McGregor, which lacks enough chemistry to be watchable and is too implausible for us to care anyway.

McGregor’s stale marriage (ended by text message, really?) and Blunt’s MIA military boyfriend (of only 3 weeks) never feel like anything other than devices to provide the needed dramatic obstacles and are about as believable as McGregor’s accent (given it’s supposed to be his native one, that’s an impressive feat). The character of Sheikh Muhammad also gives rise to a particularly patronising and misplaced brand of exoticism. Throw in some heavy handed swim-against-the-tide and faith metaphors and you’ve got a film.

A wafer-thin subplot involves faceless Arab terrorists – so nondescript that you almost expect them to be running around shouting “Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad!” This plot strand is ultimately resolved by a moment where McGregor inexplicably uses his fishing rod with samurai-esque skill, a ridiculous moment which made me groan out loud.

Kristin Scott Thomas is the only character with energy, and gets most of the funny lines. Even then, she feels painfully out of place – as if copy-pasted in from a first draft of an Armando Iannucci script. Hallström presents us with some excellent visuals of the Yemeni landscape and Scott Thomas delivers a few genuine laughs, but the narrative focus of this film is all wrong.


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  • Hipster

    I really hope you're wrong, it was such a good book

  • NatSci

    Nope, it's a bad movie. Off to a good start with a gedanken experiment of yet another rich Sheik and some truly funny lines and scenes, the "plot" collapses after not even 20min into it.

    – Crying for half of the movie over someone you had a 3-week fling with? Bitch, please.
    – Trying to get salmon to permanently inhabit an artificial river by buying genetically engineered and thus sterile, overly fast-growing and in general sickly fish from Tesco? Bitch, please!
    – Flooding a valley as terrorist act by manually opening a few valves of a dam (normally used to adjust water levels), rather than using a good dose of explosives to blow up the thing? Bitch, fuck off!!!

  • good ole


  • Andrew

    And the Warwick TV video was cringe…

    This is terrible.

    • Louisa Ackermann

      Fair comment.

      • Josie Throup

        Yeah, we weren’t looking for Oscars Andrew! Just votes! And we got them!

  • Pickles

    Why not just ignore it and not buy it?

  • Sensible Advice

    Vote RON and stop these careerist twats ruining our union

  • Financial Guru

    “I’m really glad Tab readers like my plans to introduce a £2 meal deal and an SU loyalty card”

    How much is this going to cost?
    Is it realistic to implement?

    If yes, brilliant. If no, DON’T MAKE PROMISES YOU CAN’T DELIVER.

    • charlotte

      I can tell you as someone who works for the Union, the two quid meal deal will NEVER happen. Neither will any re-opening of the scholar, cheaper drinks in the o2 or the reintroduction of the safety bus.

  • rob

    Has the tab run polls on the other positions?

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