Is Desert Dream
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
In the hot Middle Eastern country of Dubai there’s a 22,500 square-meter indoor ski resort where you can ski, snowboard, or go for toboggan runs. And in the sweltering land known as Bahrain there’s a 15,000 square-meter indoor-outdoor water park where you can splash in the Wave Pool, drift along the Lazy River, or swim against the Master Blaster.
So why not go salmon fishing in the Yemen?
That’s the background story in the film with the spoiler-alert title, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” It’s currently showing at the Tropic Cinema.
Based on a book by Paul Torday, this romantic dramedy tells of a British fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) who is hired by a wealthy Yemeni sheikh (Amr Waked) to introduce the sport of salmon fishing to that unlikely locale.
While the fisheries guy rejects the idea as “infeasible,” he’s coerced into advising the sheikh by a gung-ho press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas). In the process he falls for the sheikh’s pretty consultant (Emily Blunt), despite the fact that he has an estranged wife and she an MIA boyfriend (Tom Mison). Militants sabotage the fish runs but our guy’s faith in the project is strengthened by his new romance.
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” was directed by Lasse Hallström, the Swedish filmmaker who gave us “My Life as a Dog,” “Chocolat,” and “Cider House Rules.”
Don’t write it off as a preposterous premise. In the Middle East you’ll not only find the world’s tallest building, but also a desert golf course designed by Tiger Woods. You’ll also find the underwater city of Hydropolis, the world’s largest airport, and the sailboat-shaped Burj al Arab Hotel where gold-plated rooms go for $1,500 a night.
So why not salmon fishing?