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Lasse Hallström
Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Catherine Steadman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Mison, Rachael Stirling
Writing Credits:
Simon Beaufoy, Paul Torday (novel)

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.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$225.894 thousand on 18 screens.
Domestic Gross
$9.025 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $34.95
Release Date: 7/17/2012

• “Miracles Happen: Making Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” Featurette
• “The Fisherman in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 6, 2012)

Looking for “2011’s Worst Movie Title”? You might find it with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, one of the clunkiest monikers I’ve heard in a while.

Despite the awkward name, I thought the flick looked intriguing. Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) represents wealthy Yemeni Sheikh Mohammed (Amr Waked). The Sheikh loves salmon fishing and wants to figure out how to bring it to his desert homeland, so Harriet contacts fisheries expert Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor). However, Alfred dismisses this notion out of hand as impractical due to the climactic conditions required to allow the salmon to thrive.

When the situation in Afghanistan gets uglier, Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott-Thomas), the British Prime Minister’s press officer, scrambles for something to promote in terms of good news in the Middle East. Thus the “salmon fishing in the Yemen” concept gets revived.

Against his wishes, Alfred finds himself pushed back onto the project, and this connects him with Harriet. The prickly Alfred again tries to decline the task, but his boss (Conleth Hill) tells him he’ll get fired if he doesn’t take the job. This sends Alfred and Harriet to Yemen, where they’ll try to achieve the improbable.

And maybe fall for each other along the way? Other than its quirky subject matter, you won’t find a lot differentiate Yemen from most other romantic comedy/dramas. It presents two mismatched folks who initially seem to dislike each other and we watch as they fall in love. Of course, they both have their own significant others at the start, but we know those connections won’t last.

Despite the potentially trite nature of the material, Yemen works pretty well, largely due to the cast. We don’t get much of a plot here, as the titular premise exists as something of a MacGuffin; the quest to bring fish to the desert comes with little purpose other than to mix our lead characters, and that proves to be a suitable use of time.

Given the heavy emphasis on characters, the actors become especially important, and all involved provide nice work. Blunt is lovely and charming as always, and McGregor does a nice balancing act as Alfred. He gives the role the appropriate stuffiness, but he also ensures that we see him as a likable enough personality to make us root for him.

Scott-Thomas doesn’t get a ton to do as the press secretary, but she steals the show. She sinks her teeth into the self-serving nature of a political beast and lights up the screen whenever she appears. Is it possible that Scott-Thomas prefers supporting parts like this? She really delights as she gives us a strong, self-assured performance.

With a pretty flimsy narrative, Yemen probably runs a bit long; 107 minutes isn’t exactly epic, but it tends to strain this story’s boundaries. Still, the actors give it more than enough charm to keep it going and turn it into a warm, likable experience.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture never excelled, but it was satisfactory for SD-DVD.

Sharpness was usually fine. Wider shots tended to be a bit soft, but those instances weren’t extreme, and much of the flick offered decent to good clarity. Shimmering and jaggies were minor, but I noticed some mild edge haloes through the film. Source flaws were non-existent, as I detected no specks, marks or other blemishes.

The film’s palette usually opted for a chilly blue orientation or a mild amber path; the desert sequences went with the expected sandy impression as well. Within that design range, the colors seemed fine; they weren’t especially strong, but they seemed acceptable. Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, but shadows showed reasonable smoothness. Nothing here did much to impress, but this was a more than acceptable presentation.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. When the track used the side or rear speakers, it was usually for score or information like nature sounds. Nothing memorable fleshed out the track; it fit the movie reasonably well but didn’t add much.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity. Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a decent but unspectacular track.

Two featurettes show up here. Miracles Happen: Making Salmon Fishing in the Yemen goes for 13 minutes, seven seconds and includes comments from director Lasse Hallström, producer Paul Webster, fly fishing advisor Bill Drury, and actors Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, and Kristin Scott-Thomas. “Happen” looks at the source novel and its adaptation, story/character topics, cast and performances, Hallström’s work during the shoot, sets and locations, and fishing training. This acts as pretty standard promotional material, though it throws out enough facts to make it worthwhile.

The Fisherman in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday lasts three minutes, 15 seconds and offers info from Torday. He covers aspects of the story and characters as well as other elements of his book. Torday delivers a quick but informative piece.

Under Previews, we get ads for The Words, Robot & Frank, Bel Ami, The Woman in Black and Safety Not Guaranteed. No trailer for Yemen appears here.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen manages to create an enjoyable experience. Though it runs a bit long and lacks a particularly dynamic narrative, the fine cast gives it life and makes it a likable ride. The DVD comes with perfectly acceptable picture and audio along with some minor supplements. Nothing about this release excels, but the DVD gives us a reasonably solid presentation of an engaging film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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