Jonathan Fryer

Posts Tagged ‘Ewan McGregor’

The Impossible

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 13th January, 2013

The ImpossibleEwan McGregorI was in Bahrain on Boxing Day 2004, when the tsunami hit the coast of Thailand. The TV was full of shocking footage over the next few days, but I found it hard to imagine what it must have been like to be caught up in the terrifying havoc. This evening I feel I can imagine that much more clearly, having watched Juan Antonio Bayona’s remarkable film, The Impossible. The special effects used in the recreation of the giant tidal wave and its destructive aftermath are stunning and the cast is quite simply brilliant. Ewan McGregor, as the young father of a family literally sewpt up in the disaster puts in what I consider to be his greatest performance to date. Naomi Watts is also fine as his wife and the three boys who play the children are totally credible. The film is based on the true story of what happened to a Spanish family, whose picture appears during the final credits: dark-haired and very Iberain, whereas the film family is very British and ginger/blond. I guess to raise the huge amount of money needed to make such a movie it was ncessary to shoot it in English, with international stars, but as so many of the people involved in its production are Spanish, I assume they were happy with that. Certainly, it is hard to fault the end result and there wasn’t a dry eye in the cinema this evening.

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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 29th April, 2012

Impossible dreams are what drive humankind forward: we were given free will to think the unthinkable. Karl Popper used to talk about creative leaps of the imagination and although doubtless some people will think me pretentious for saying so, that is what came to my mind as I emerged from watching Lasse Holstrom’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Based on the best-selling novel by Paul Torday, the movie recounts the quest by an extremely rich Arab shekih (Amr Waked) to reproduce the thrill (for him) of salmon fishing on one of his Scottish Highland estates, but in the Yemen, with the aid of a dam, a Scottish ichthyologist (Ewan McGregor) and a smart young female public relations-cum-mnagement consultant (Emily Blunt). Like many dreams,the scheme is preposterous, yet passion and commitment — and pots of money — make it happen, even if initial victory is swept away by the forces of reaction. It’s a powerful story, shot against wonderful backdrops of Scotland and Morocco (a safer stand-in for the Yemen) and there is much acting, notably by Ewan McGregor, whose portrayal of the single-minded fish specialist is both bathetic and endearing. Kristin Scott Thomas as the hard-nosed (indeed, hard everything) press relations guru of a shallow British Prime Minister is a sort of cross between Alistair Campbell and Cruella De Ville; it may be a caricature but it is an effective one and underlines her potenial as a bitchy Maggie Smith for future cameo roles. All in all, a feel-good film that mixes high drama with some good jokes and an often intelligent script. Another ‘hit’ for the British film industry, I’m sure.

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