Blu-ray Review “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas, Catherine Steadman
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Running Time: 107 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Lasse Hallström really knowns how to make romantic relationship films. He is known for his work on films like “Dear John”, “Casanova” and “Chocolat”. “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” basically follows in the same path of those. It focuses on aspects of faith, friendship and love and the goal to accomplish the impossible. It is well-directed, as is expected due to Hallström credits. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt have good chemistry together as well. I enjoyed both of their performances and it really was the driving factor for which I enjoyed the most. If you are looking for a cute, simple and touching film, look no further.

This film is a tale of romance mixed with fly-fishing and politics.  It is based on Paul Torday’s novel focusing on a scientist who looks to fulfills the dream of a sheikh by bringing the sport of fly-fishing to his homeland in Yemen. He in fact though believe this both absurd and unachievable. When the Prime Minister’s press secretary comes on board to showcase this as a “good will” story, the two form an unlikely relationship and decide to put it all on the line and take a leap of faith and to prove the impossible, possible.

When it comes to the Blu-ray presentation, Sony has really taken a simple film and made it look really good. The 1080p transfer is near perfect and really brings out the film’s beauty. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is good but doesn’t really have much range but plays well with the score. Like most, if not all recent, Sony releases this film also includes a DVD along with the Blu-ray disc. Also they include an Ultraviolet streaming digital copy. The special features are pretty disappointing with only two features and no commentary. “Miracles Happen: Making Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is a short cast/crew interview overview piece. Lastly there is “The Fisherman in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday” which is very short and looks into the origin of the story from the novel and it conversion to film.

Film Review “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas
Directed by: Lasse’ Hallstrom
PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 47 mins

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The news in England is pretty bleak. The headlines are full of stories about war and a bad economy. Enter Patricia Maxwell (Thomas), press secretary to the Prime Minister. She enlists her staff to search high and low for what she calls a “Good Story,” something that will take the peoples’ minds off of the negative. Unbeknownst to Maxwell, a very wealthy Yemeni Sheik (Amr Waked) with a love for fishing wants to bring the sport of salmon fishing to his country. A match made in publicity heaven.

Based on the novel by Paul Torday and adapted by Oscar winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (“The Full Monty,” “Slumdog Millionaire”), “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is a well written, finely acted film that hopefully will not get lost in the upcoming “BIG MOVIE” release schedule. McGregor plays Dr. Alfred Jones, who works for the government’s conservation office. Blunt is Harriet, who is the Sheik’s representative on the project. At first Jones believes it all a joke, quoting a price of 50 million pounds as the cost of the project thinking he will call the Sheik’s bluff. But when the Sheik deposits the money in the bank he realizes the plan may work. An avid fisherman himself, Jones understands the peace and tranquility the Sheik is hoping to share with his people. A secondary story featuring Jones and his wife and Harriet and her recent boyfriend gives the film a romantic twist. Fate throws the two together alone in a strange country after Alfred’s wife heads to Geneva for a six week work project and Harriet’s beau, a soldier, is listed as missing in action. Only a minor subplot concerning the Sheik’s countrymen and their worries that he is becoming too “westernized” slows the film down. Both leads work well off of each other and it’s a treat to hear McGregor unleash his Scottish accent on screen.

The photography is beautiful, with the normally dull desert landscapes brought to life by cinematographer Terry Stacey (“American Splendor”). Equally solid is Lasse Hallstrom’s direction, keeping the film moving as gracefully as salmon swimming upstream.

CBS Films Acquires TIFF Crowd Pleaser “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”


TORONTO – September 12, 2011 – CBS Films announced today that they have acquired the U.S. distribution rights to SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN which made its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival this week.  The announcement was made jointly today by CBS Films’ COO Wolfgang Hammer and EVP of Acquisitions Scott Shooman.

Directed by Oscar©-nominee Lasse Hallström (Chocolat), SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN is an extraordinary, beguiling tale of fly-fishing and political spinning, of unexpected heroism and late-blooming love and of an attempt toprove the impossible, possible. Ewan McGregor (Beginners) and Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) star in the feature film alongside Oscar©-nominee Kristen ScottThomas (I’ve Loved You So Long).

Based on Paul Torday’s acclaimed novel, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN is written by Oscar©-winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and produced by Paul Webster (The Motorcycle Diaries) and executive produced by Jamie Laurenson, Stephen Garrett, Paula Jalfon, Zygi Kamasa and Guy Avshalom.

“I am so happy to have the support of the team at CBS Films for the distribution of our labor of love, ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.’ I had the best of times working on it with producer Paul Webster, writer Simon Beaufoy and the cast, Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas,” said Hallström.

“Lasse Hallström has done it again with this beautiful, heartwarming, and elegant picture. The performances are amazing from top to bottom,” commented Shooman who continued, “We are honored to have the opportunity to bring this extraordinary film to American audiences.”

UTAIndependent Film Group set up the film’s financing and brokered the deal with CBS Films.

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