A movie about a rich sheik bringing the sport of fly-fishing to Yemen is not exactly up there with Iron Man, Thor and the boys (and girl) from the Avengers as far as 'action attraction' goes but its a timely reminder that smaller films do actually exist when blockbusters hit the scene and to keep you humbled and grounded I would strongly recommend taking the time to catch this little gem before its pushed out to make way for the Summer fest of epics we are expecting.
Emily Blunt's firm represents a rich eastern Sheik, with money to burn and a passion to re-invent the Yemen River as a fly-fishers paradise which not only requires the right water but climate as well and not to gorget the Salmon themselves before anyone can actually take his plan seriously. Fisheries expert and slight 'asbergers' scientist Ewan McGregor is the go-to guy to act as project manager who initially laughs the idea right out of the office but when Downing Street gets wind of it as a way to increase Anglo / Arab relations it becomes a steamroller of discovery that takes McGregor, Blunt and a comical Kristin Scott Thomas all the way to Yemen and with the luxury of a 'money no object' philosophy, everyone is free to realise the most important lessons in life are worth the pursuit, regardless of barriers.
The movie itself does seem to take a little longer to actually get going with McGregor taking a longer than needed time frame to actually fully get on board but nether less he is really good in this, as is co-star Emily Blunt who again, oozes cuteness on every level. There are also some worthy secondary stories with Blunt & McGregor both in relationships and each with their own troubles in the background but the obvious "will they, wont they" does last right up until the final scenes, although to be honest - I'm sure you've already guessed it!
Billed as a romantic comedy I was struggling to see where the humour would come from. An Asset Management Consultant and Fish Scientist do not immediately scream 'Anchorman' but its the part of Scott Thomas as the PM's press secretary who is responsible for all of the laughs. Her far removed attitude from her role is well received and although the comedy all appears unintentional, its scripted brilliantly with the relationship between her, the PM and the foreign Secretary is all very tongue in cheek.
As for the Sheik himself, well his character is well educated and shows clarity in his mission, understanding the Western ways but at the same time not pushing his beliefs a onto our leading twosome. Its only a matter of time until McGregor is completely in it for the long haul with 'Faith & Fish' taking on a resounding philosophy throughout.
It's not all sweetness and light though like The Blindside or Exotic Marigold Hotel - there's some heartache, trauma and sabotage thrown in for good measure that make it far more realistic as the building of a dam, transportation of 10,000 salmon & ecological impact would be totally unbelievable without a single hitch taking place. Throw in a few love triangles and an assassination attempt and in my mind - you've got most of the boxes ticked.
There's not much more to say about this movie. Its a small, British movie from three companies including The 'BBC' and manages to get across quite a simple message. How you perceive that message is up to you and where some of you may find it ploddy and in places, slow - I felt it heartwarming and uplifting. Maybe I'm going soft in my old age?