You know what I love about fishing? Subtlety.
It is a quiet sport, one based on patience and discipline; it requires both nuance of craft and stillness of mind, which is precisely why fishing is such an attractive activity to many. With a rod in one’s hand, in a boat or in waders, where else can one find such mental peace and clarity?
Not in Lasse Hallström’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, for starters. A story about a real-life effort to introduce salmon fishing to the harsh conditions of the Yemen river, the film claims to have a love and understanding of fishing, but it is an impostor, for it has not a subtle bone in its spectacularly stupid body. Every plot point is loudly telegraphed, every character trait shouted at the camera, every message or theme delivered in monologue, every second of music obvious and manipulative, every piece of development outlined with small, easily digestible phrases, and so on and so on.
Combined with flat characters, terrible comedic interludes, and a number of reprehensibly ill-advised plot contrivances, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen displays startlingly naked contempt for the audience’s intellect. The film fishes not with grace and precision, but with dynamite, and the results are proportionally disastrous. Like a salmon scared away by a group of loud, drunken buffoons, it’s best to keep swimming until one finds something better.
Continue reading on the next page…