Monday, March 19, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Movie Review

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I have a new interest in travel destinations and that's the Middle East, so when I saw this movie title, I was intrigued. Plus "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" makes you go, "What?!"

Surely that's a joke. And that's precisely the reaction Dr Alfred Jones gives when he's approached to make a rich sheikh's dream of fly-fishing in the desert come true.

Ewan McGregor plays the stiff and nerdy British fisheries expert Dr Jones who eventually goes against the flow to make the impossible a reality. His native Scottish burr is cute, although I sometimes wish he could still pull out a light saber instead of casting a fly.

What really drew me to the movie was Kristin Scott Thomas who plays a sharp, bossy press secretary Patricia Maxwell to hilarious effect. You just have to watch the trailer to see what I mean.

The romantic part I don't really care for. All the couples in here have zero chemistry. In fact, I think Dr Jones has more warmth with his estranged wife than with his newfound love interest. There's enough comedy that has the audience laughing out loud, but the stilted and forced love story really ruins it for me. I also wish the movie had a different ending, which would give it more indie edge.

Still the film is a delightful poke at dysfunctional bureaucracy and the Western unease with the Muslim world. The mischievous and mystical sheikh is too cool to be true, and it would be nice if the other characters could relax a bit more like him.

The film is directed by Lasse Hallström who also brought us Chocolat, Hachi: A Dog's Tale, What's Eating Gilbert Grape and The Cider House Rules. Script by screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen opens March 22 in theatres in Singapore. Thanks to omy.sg for the preview screening. And yes, I still want to go Yemen. In a private jet. Any cool dude sheikhs out there?

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