|CAST:||EVAN McGREGOR - FRED JONES|
|EMILY BLUNT - HARRIET CHETWODE-TALBOT|
|AMR WAKED - SHEIK MUHAMMED|
|KRISTEN SCOTT THOMAS - BRIDGET MAXWELL|
WRITER: SIMON BEAUFOY
PRODUCER: PAUL WEBSTER
We meet two different characters leading very different lives - Harriet (Emily Blunt, 'The Adjustment Bureau'), who is embarking on a brand new relationship with a British soldier, and Fred (Ewan McGregor, 'The Ghost Writer') the quiet fisherman who works for the British government and is stuck in a visibly stagnant marriage with his overbearing wife. When Harriet contacts Fred for a multi-million dollar project to breed and fish salmon on the arid Yemen river, Fred thinks of it as nothing but a ludicrous joke. Yet after meeting with Harriet and the sheik behind the crazy idea, Fred's mind slowly begins to change.
Though the project is certainly the driving force that brings this film together, this quirky little British story doesn't really sit neatly in any genre - there's tales of love and loss, big dreams, faith versus science, and how people's good intentions can be misinterpreted.
There's more than a few twists in this movie - some unexpected, some a little unbelievable, particularly as the film progresses. Overall, it's a truly unique storyline, that's surprisingly funny for a lot of the movie. McGregor's socially awkward Fred actually manages to become a perfect protagonist for this film, and the charming Harriet runs the gauntlet of emotions, showing off Blunt in possibly her strongest role to date. Kristin Scott Thomas is resplendent as the uptight PM press secretary Patricia - but the scene-stealing sheik, portrayed by Amr Waked, is utterly fixating to watch on screen - it's his performance that really makes the ludicrous concept behind this film believable; in the end, you want the sheik's hair-brained scheme to work.
This is a truly endearing film, a movie that doesn't try to be anything. It holds some spectacular cinematography, a stellar cast, and smart, witty humour. For a film based on fishing, this is a brilliant examination of human nature.