Thursday, 12 April 2012

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (2011)

"There's just this small matter of getting water.
You know that fish kinda like water, right?"
At a glance:
You'd be forgiven for thinkin this was a documentary on aquaculture. Salmon Fishing In TheYemen (2011) is actually an oddball dramedy (with a very misleadin trailer!) adapted off a novel, the bizarre titular activity bein a proposed joint venture by the British government press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) to improve Anglo-Yemeni relations by offsettin violent news from the Middle East in the media. A reluctant fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) has Asperger's but finds unlikely romance with the troubled consultant (Emily Blunt) to a rich Yemeni sheikh (Amr Waked), the "visionary" who's fundin the entire project to the tune of £50 million. The director is Lasse Hallström, whose rather romantic CV includes Hachiko (2009), Chocolat (2000) and The Cider House Rules (1999). It premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, which is serendipitous to me because this is the first movie I've watched in a Canadian cinema since I moved here to Toronto - and also because I attempted to cook my wife the same fish for dinner prior to the show. Both fish and film were a letdown.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Emily Blunt shouldn't be too hopeful
for a sequel return in
Papaya Growing In The Arctic.

While fishin punters seem to have a litany of grouses about the tech aspects of the premise and also the fishin that is depicted in the film, a casual moviegoer can nevertheless still complain that this movie simply lost itself midway and didn't know what it wanted to be. The McGregor-Blunt romantic pairin and various backstories took themselves too seriously and destroyed the winsome quirky comedy that this should have been, somethin that only Kristin Scott Thomas's overzealous character tried correctly to achieve. The feelin at the end credits was similar to havin had watched Larry Crowne (2011).
Perennial wonderment:
There's somethin terribly romantic about the life cycle of the salmon. You know - swimmin all the way back to the place that you were born just to spawn and then to die. This was somewhat referenced in the movie, when McGregor's character starts to turn around in a crowd that was movin in one direction; and also in another shot when the first fish swims upstream. It alluded to not wantin to live a pedestrian life, somethin that McGregor's character found himself doin. Someone really ought to make a superhero movie in the vein of Kick-Ass (2010) or Super (2010) and call it Salmon Man or somethin.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Some of the big name media were too kind to this. Should've been a much better movie.★★1/2
Trailer for the curious:

Bonus material:

Emily Blunt - Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Interview at TIFF 201
At Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas in Toronto