Running Time: 2 hours 24 minutes
Whenever I here a song by Bob Marley, one thing comes to mind. Turn it off. But I must also state that I don’t dislike anything about it either. It just barely registers as music to my ears and is instantly forgotten. I have never had cause to find out about the man who was Bob Marley because I’m not political and our paths never crossed. But what I do like is watching a programme or a documentary about something which I know nothing about and learning something. I find most documentaries about musicians or people who are creative very enjoyable and generally inspirational. So because this film was out at the cinema I made myself go. I was glad that I did. Kevin Macdonald who had previously directed ‘The Last King Of Scotland’ and ‘Touching The Void’ does a good job with the task of piecing together a progressive collage of a journey from Marley’s days in Trench Town , through his early days and benefit gigs, right up to his death in 1981. There is candid talking heads featuring close family members and band mates and footage from various concerts and interviews. Marley himself is painted as he was in life, totally focused on his cause and an unashamed romantic beneath his shy exterior.
I was taken in by the film immediately because I love listening to African accents and it taught me a lot about Rastafarianism which I knew nothing about prior to this movie. I came away knowing how Reggae was formed and it’s message of peace between everyone on the planet. The family talk frankly about the events which clouded their enjoyment sometimes whilst on tour with this small man who had a large persona. It also documents an operation on his toe that seems inconsequential to begin with but becomes important later on. The film was surprisingly long I felt, as a non reggae fan especially. The music went through me and was forgotten the instant the credits rolled. I am not a new fan of the music but I have a huge amount of respect for the man himself. I will never hear his music again without thinking good of him and his cause. This was a pleasure that I am really glad I watched. So if you like Bob Marley and his music then you should love this.
C Whitehouse 2016