Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

I had seen a trailer for Salmon Fishing in Yemen and in addition to the amusing nature of the subject the repartee from the chief media adviser for the Prime Minister had echoes of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister.

The film has two entwined stories. A wealthy Yemeni with a home in Scotland with its own salmon fishing river  decides on a dam and irrigation scheme to improve the economic basis of the country and improve the lives of the people. The focus for the development is his passion for Salmon fishing and the wish to introduce the fish and its fishing into his country.  The Yemen does have a fishing industry using coastal waters although this has been adversely by piracy. The investment and other interests are looked after by a British firm with Emily Blunt playing the suitably sophisticated woman about town executive Harriet Chetwode-Talbot

Ms Blunt is a pleasantly attractive young woman neither beautiful, sexy or with a memorable personality. She is a good actress in the British tradition. I have seen many of her previous films without remembering she was in them; the most recent being the Adjustment Bureau and Gulliver’s Travels. The Young Victoria, Sunshine Cleaning, Charlie Wilson’s War and the Jane Austin Book Club and the Devil Wears Pravda are all films where I can recall a still or two and the subject matter of the film. Ms Blunt remains bland.

In this film she has commenced a passionate sexual relationship with an active Special Forces Officer who has been called away on a mission.

She approaches Dr Alfred Jones, a scientific officer within a the government department, hand picked because of his private expertise and interest in salmon fishing and having devised a fly which the wealthy Yemeni also appreciated as being effective in pursuit of the creatures.

Dr Jones is played by Ewan McGregor who is also a bland actor but has registered in my retained memory more than his co star. He made his name in the film Trainspotting which I have had no inclination to see and in Star Wars which I have always considered an overrated series. The one film in which I view his performance many times with appreciation is the musical Moulin Rouge. Little Voice, Rogue Trader, Black Hawk Down, The Island, and Miss Potter as well as Nanny McPhee are all films which I look back on with enjoyment.

While Dr Jones is obsessive, myopic  and introverted    and long time married to a down to earth ambitious career woman who is offered a once in a lifetime move to Geneva or somewhere similar in Europe. Fred is resentful because he will miss out on his regular mechanical sex which provides nothing for his wife and will her  company when he is not studying work matters or talking to the fish in his pond.  He is a boring man in a boring marriage with his wife the first to break out. He wants nothing to do with the project but is given an ultimatum of cooperating or resigning so he goes along and is there for Harriet when the short period boyfriend goes missing in action and is then reported dead along with all his comrades in arms.   

The reason why he is ordered to participate and assist is because the Prime Minister’s spin doctor is looking for a game changing event and finds the alleged fact of £2 million anglers in the UK of interest in terms of vote catching. It is absurd to suggest that at anyone time one is thirty of the British Population is fishing on a regular basis. There are not enough places to fish let alone fish. Along the Shield’s side of the Tyne at the river mouth and along the pier there are perhaps 50 off regulars with a number of other casuals, often on the dole in addition to the commercial fisherman who provide the fish markets at North Tyneside and Sunderland.

The spin controller is brilliantly played by Kristin Scott Thomas who is given the best lines. However her plan goes awry when those at Agriculture and Fisheries leak the plan to take ten thousand of UK salmon to the Yemen.  His marriage over and fired with some of the enthusiasm of the man picking up the tab for his secondment he resigns to work full time when the UK Government  backs off in the face of the political wrath of the fisher folk. During a visit to the estate in Scotland, disenchanted citizens, it is not made clear their political/social motivation appoint a single assassin but the plot is foiled by the clever use of the fishing line and from that point there is a debt to be paid.

The crazy plan goes ahead with use of farmed salmon on the basis that within their genes will be the instincts to go up rive to spawn involving jumping over obstacles. The British government through the Spin Controller then seize on the official launch of the release of salmon up river when it is discovered that one of the SAS team survived none other than the boyfriend who injured was cared for until able to return. He is flown to the site together with a Cabinet Minister who has fished in the past, unlike the Prime Minister.  But this is also the second opportunity for the rebels to strike and the make a successful attack on the dam release flood level water which kills most of the fish so it seems. The SAS man realises that a relationship has developed between Fred and Harriet, although Harriet is torn between her original affection and commitment, albeit based on only a short of period of time and her attraction to Fred who developed the successful plan for her to organise its operation.

Fred decides to stay and start again with her his partner although this time they will make progress on a more modest scale attempting to take everyone with them. Ensuring the benefits to the community are established and tradition are not threatened. The script makes the film

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