| July 29, 2020
It is not often that someone rises through the ranks of life and becomes one of the world’s most well-known names. There are maybe only a handful of people that have had a similar impact on the world that the beloved Bob Marley had (even post-mortem). Marley attempts to tell the tale of the reggae star and his rise to fame, struggles, and ultimate demise. Like never before, Marley’s life is dissected, and who he was beneath the surface is exposed. So, strap in and get ready for one heck of a ride.
Director Kevin Macdonald chooses a profound individual to create a documentary about. Marley touches on all you already know and everything that you should know about the famed musician. For example, this giant among musicians, to this day, has a cult following comparable to some of the biggest musical names in history. Since the musician passed away 30 years ago, Mcdonald finds what appears to be every living family member, friend, and confidant of Marley’s and brings them together to tell his story.
As Marley progresses and the tiniest details of Marley’s life come out into the open, it becomes clear that the subjects chosen to help deliver Marley’s messages are perfect for the job. They are honest, and, while they hold their father/lover/friend/family member in such high esteem, they talk about his short-comings, struggles, and those times they did not see eye-to-eye with him. Their honesty is a large part of what makes the documentary so enjoyable. Rather than have a series of individuals explaining to the world what a wonderful person Marley was, they were close enough and are comfortable enough to tell the truth, regardless of whether or not it’s what people want to hear.
“…the tale of the reggae star and his rise to fame, struggles, and ultimate demise.”
Marley subverts the talking head style and uses images to set the tone, drive the story, and keep audiences intrigued. Numerous aerial shots depicting Jamaica’s incredible landscapes allow viewers to truly appreciate what is being said about Marley and his music. These beautiful, long, and passionate shots are set to Marley’s sweet, relaxing tunes and will resonate with audiences. While I’m somewhat familiar with Marley’s music, this was the first time I truly understand what Marley’s music means to the world. His tunes are sweet and rhythmic and paired with these images, audiences can experience the full might of Marley’s musical prowess.
Marley‘s lack of a narrator forces audiences to watch, read the on-screen text, and absorb all the information thrown at them. With everything that goes on during the documentary, choosing to leave out narration almost allows the audiences to take in all the information.
Marley is a one-of-a-kind documentary with impeccable pacing, beautiful visuals, and honest storytellers willing to deliver even the most unwelcome information. It will appeal to fans of the renowned Bob Marley and casual listeners alike.