Release Date: April 20, 2012
Running Time: 144 minutes
Bob Marley would have turned 67 on May 11, and what stands out the most about director Kevin MacDonald’s comprehensive but intimate documentary Marley is that the reggae pioneer’s powerful voice continues to be missed 31 years after his untimely death from cancer. Marley not only popularized reggae on a global scale but he served as a spokesman for his native Jamaica. Marley chronicles in a refreshingly straightforward manner how the singer-songwriter overcame his poverty-stricken childhood to become a folk hero at home and a music icon the world over. Delving deep into Marley’s personal life and professional achievements without succumbing to the sensation, MacDonald offers an enlightening examination of how Marley’s Rastafari beliefs shaped his worldview, influenced his lyrics, and prompted him to use his growing political clout judiciously. Interviews with Marley’s family and former members of his band the Wailers don’t just paint a portrait of Marley as an ambitious, competitive musical genius devoted to bringing peace to the then-troubled Jamaica. He also is described as a flawed husband and father who occasionally got caught up in his pursuit of success. For example, Marley’s increased control over the Wailers and his determination to conquer the United States alienated Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, resulting in both quitting the band in 1974. MacDonald refuses to take Behind the Music-type melodramatic approach to Marley’s final months, but a candid comment by Marley’s Island Records boss Chris Blackwell certainly puts forth the notion that Marley’s death was preventable. Regardless, MacDonald’s respectful but honest look at Marley engenders a greater appreciation of both the man and his music.
Aired: April 19, 2012
Web site: http://www.magpictures.com/marley/