Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
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From the beloved director of Chocolat and the Oscar®-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire (2008) comes the inspirational comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. A visionary Sheikh (Amr Waked) believes his passion for the peaceful pastime of salmon fishing can enrich the lives of his people, and he dreams of bringing the sport to the not so fish-friendly desert. Willing to spare no expense, he instructs his representative (Emily Blunt) to turn the dream into reality, an extraordinary feat that will require the involvement of Britain's leading fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor), who happens to think the project both absurd and unachievable. That is, until the Prime Minister's overzealous press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) latches onto it as a 'good will' story. Now, this unlikely team will put it all on the line and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible.
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Then, in a whoosh of near biblical proportions, the project -which is suddenly portrayed as successful with fish miraculously swimming upstream- is derailed by some faceless cretins with ill intent. Within 15 minutes onscreen 1) Man effectively ends marriage, 2) Boyfriend reappears, 3) fish project unsuccessful, 4) fish project successful, 5) dam release kills project, 6) boy loses girl, 7) fish reappear, 8) boy wins girl. It's way too much obvious plotting way too fast and it nearly ruins the film.
Both Blunt and McGregor are a joy to behold and are well matched onscreen. As a romantic fantasy, "Salmon" works on a superficial level, but the clumsy (and terribly obvious) last 15 minutes nearly ruins the film. Recommended as a light entertainment, however flawed.