A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik's vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.
Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days.
A visionary sheik 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 to turn the dream into reality, an extraordinary feat that will require the involvement of Britain's leading fisheries expert who happens to think the project both absurd and unachievable. That is, until the Prime Minister's overzealous press secretary latches on to 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. Written by
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Brings humour and faith to science, politics and romantic comedies
A rich sheik has decided that he would like to bring the faith and sport of fly-fishing to Yemen. British fisheries expert, Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), thinks it's a joke. But the PM likes the idea of positive Anglo-Yemeni cooperation and the 2 million potential voters who fish. Dr. Jones still thinks it's a joke. The sheik transfers $50 Million over to his consultant's firm, and thus the project begins.
Dr. Jones still thinks it's a joke. And that is where the film shines. The filmmakers don't really treat it as if it's a true story and keep the humour sharp throughout. It's more closely related to a light-hearted romantic comedy rather than a sharp-edged political memoir. But again, this is where it shines, because it's so much better than a light-hearted romantic comedy. McGregor nails his serious character, allowing us to experience his whimsical sense of humour beneath his scientific demeanor. It's a character that I instantly connected with and it has never been better written or portrayed as it was here.
To me, the second best character was Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked). (Although at this point most people would prefer to mention the foul-mouthed press secretary by Kristin Scott Thomas). The sheikh splits his time between the desert of Yemen and the beautiful flowing streams through the mountains and glens of Scotland. He wants to bring the serenity and faith that fly-fishing brings to his people in the Middle East. Dr. Jones fishes but he is not religious. The sheikh found this a very confusing dichotomy in his character until they both realized that faith is not the same thing as religion.
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" is very funny and approaches political satire level. We know, and Dr, Jones knows, that fish do not survive in the desert. So obviously this is all a big joke, but as we also all know, money and power outweigh common sense. But it starts becoming clear that this might actually work after we realize that the sheikh is driven by faith not religion, nor money. And the media comes in and creates war heroes and emotions out of nothing. As I said, the film is very funny but it doesn't skewer the politicians or media as much as we would want them to. At that point it becomes a romantic comedy.
The genre shouldn't really matter though because it's so cute and charming, and enjoyable on every level. I'm assuming the book focuses more on the political and engineering maneuvers required to bring salmon to Yemen; here we just stuck with the characters. But I loved these characters.
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