on 9 July 2012
You may well wonder if you can justify putting a music documentary in the cinamas before dvd/blu-ray release. Well when it's this good,yes you can.
After reading the warts 'n' all RITA MARLEY book "No woman,no cry",i did wonder if this movie would be as brutally honest about Bob,the negatives aswell as the positives. Certainly it shows mostly Bob as a good man,which of course he was,but it's not expecting you to think he was an angel,he didn't stick to just his wife,he liked his women and they liked him. This may've been skipped a little from Rita's book,but it gets to the point. The music is stunning,new tracks and old,some great footage and an interesting story well told. The interview with those that knew him are done with obvious love and affection for a true legend. From his upbringing to his adulthod,to his times with Rita to that shooting,his toe injury and of course his sad death. This explains why he is such a legend and why he will be missed,his music will live on,how could it not?
on 2 May 2012
It is hard to see how this documentary of the late,great, Bob Marley could ever be improved upon.Marley's admirers are fortunate in having the services of a director of the stature of Kevin Macdonald to record the life,thoughts and music of one of the most important cultural figures of the late 20th Century.
Many film makers would have been overwhelmed by the scope of the project,but Macdonald,while deeply respectful,pays tribute to his subject from a standing position, looking him in the eye rather than from bended knees.
One of the strongest points of the film is it's well chosen interviews.Those you would expect are there,Rita Marley,Bunny Livingston and a clutch of Wailers,but also present and adding colour and flavour to the project are,Bob's Cousins,friends and lovers,even his first teacher,God knows how old she must be, but she talks well and even sings in a strong voice.
We see all of the defining moments of his life,his breakthrough to international acclaim,the assassination attempt,the Peace Concert (who could forget his calling Manley and Seaga on stage and forcing them to clasp hands despite their obvious reluctance ?) and the outpouring of grief mixed with celebratory pride in his life, at his laying to rest.
The music is very well chosen.Of course the hits are here,but so are little-known early songs.Music and visuals are carefuly blended to enhance our understanding of the man and his message.There is no question of an extended music video intended to promote a soundtrack album here.
Some may carp that the movie is too long,but a life of such importance demands a great deal of attention.
I suspect that what would give Marley the greatest pleasure about this production would be that it explores in depth , his Rasta philosophy and it's cultural,social and political context.
Genuine fans would not want this film to suggest that Bob was perfect,indeed he would be the last to deny he had flaws,there are hints of tensions in the Marley family,it could not have been easy to live in the shade of a great man.The overwhealming impression we get however, is that of a very human, and very humane, man.His last words in the movie,which come over as deeply sincere,tell us that he has no ambition but to see everyone live together as one.Sadly he was taken from us too early to winess this,but God,or Jah,grant that it one day may be so.
on 10 August 2012
Marley encapsulates the essence of Bob Marley. The music, the man and the legend.
The interviews are wonderful and feature some strong moments of joy, pain and love from those close to him.
The editing is top notch, it is expertly put together and really does his story justice.
Incorporating Marley's early music and his later tracks too, seeing where he was born and how he came into music was very interesting and really involved you from the beginning. We see how Bob Marley was a political force and we are also given an intimate look at his home life too. We see that he wasn't perfect.
If you love Bob Marley then there is no other film you have to see to really get the full story. It is clearly a film made with love and admiration for Bob's work, you will laugh and cry at this film and be left with a sense of admiration and appreciation.
The Blu Ray is great. The new interview footage is sharp, the music is crisp and the old footage of Bob in concert is beautiful. They have done a great job with the restoration of the clips of Bob doing interviews and the footage of the events that are described.
Bob Marley's legacy will never end and this documentary does justice to the man we all love.
on 29 April 2012
Marley isn't so much a music documentary, but an exploration of post-colonial Jamaica, and the politics that influenced the great icon. Some critics have criticised the film for not containing enough music footage, but honestly I thought there was more than enough. There are plenty of DVD's to be found of this material.
And you get everything you would expect from MacDonald: a classic Campbell-esque hero's quest, a search for belonging, fraught male relationships, spectacular cinematography, and a well aimed kick at American imperialism. It was nice to hear MacDonald's own voice in the film, he has a great voice and would love to hear him more.
My main critcisms are that this isn't as tight as MacDonald usually works, and I fear the resultant 'bagginess' stems from the family's involvement. The interviews from family tend to romantacise Marley. The most poignant interviews come from those Marley himself rejected: his band-mates from the Wailer's original line up, children who never knew the opportunity to have their father to themselves - even in his final days, and the wife who fails to convince the audience of her acceptance of Marley's affairs.
Be warned, this film is a butt-number at a running length of two hours and twenty-fine minutes.
I've recently been to Jamaica and Bob Marley's music could be heard everywhere. So when I came home I decided to look into the life of this man, whose songs are instantly recognised by millions of people around the world.
You don't have to be a die-hard Bob Marley fan to enjoy this film, as the story of the mixed-race man who became a music legend will grip you right from the start - from Robert Nesta's humble beginning in Nine Mile, to his rise to stardom until his premature death to cancer in Miami. The story is told by many people who knew him, with the occasional audio and video clip in which you can hear the man himself talking about his philosophy, his attitude on marriage, his hopes for mankind to one day live harmoniously together. The narration is interspersed with snippets history of Jamaica, newsreel from the time and, of course, footage of live performances. It certainly helped me understand who Bob Marley was - a deeply spiritual man who, in many ways, was ahead of his time.
Really interesting documentary including several extras if you are left wanting to know more.
on 19 August 2012
Saw this at the cinema and was blown away by it. Will be buying a copy on DVD for posterity. If you think you know about the man behind the music there is more to learn here. If he had lived I believe he would have been up there with the great and good of our time. Watch it and I think you will agree.
on 7 November 2012
Really insightful and entertaining DVD review of the life of Bob Marley, would of liked more of the music though. Definitely recommended.
on 30 August 2012
I love Bob Marley and was anxiously waiting for this release.
I enjoyed watching it, but the star that is missing is for the intangible element I thought was missing from the film.
It was long, informative, wonderfully shot and edited, but there was something lacking that I can't put my finger on.
Maybe it was the way the director kept hinting at the man's less than saintly qualities but pulling back before getting too far into such a touchy area.
Or, maybe it was the way it skirted around the music in a few places where I thought it could have gone deeper.
I honestly don't know.
I gave it 4 stars because it's about time this artist's story was comprehensively told on film, exposing his talent to a wider audience.
Even posthumously will do.
It certainly made me want to watch whatever concert footage I have again.
Maybe that was the point.
Anyway, good film, but not the moving experience I thought it might be.
on 11 January 2014
I personally think this DVD is superb. It has so much of Bob Marley's life from his early childhood memories to his death. So enjoyed, if you are a Marley fan you can't go wrong with this DVD. Highly recommended.
I'm not a big fan of Bob, I do like his music, especially his lesser known classics. He's always been a sort of enigma to me, yes, I knew he believed in Rastafarianism - but there were many things I didn't know.
This documentary lasts nearly two and a half hours, and looks at mainly where Marley came from, the problems he faced in Jamaica as a half-cast boy, and how labels didn't really show any interest in his music. We get some great commentaries from wife Rita, his son Ziggy and daughter Constance; who seems to be very American in her ways. There's also some of his musician friends like Lee "Scratch" Perry, Jimmy Cliff and some clips of Peter Tosh.
I'd say this is probably one of the more interesting documentaries I've ever seen, the cast seem so happy to talk, and they focus on the happier side of life rather than Marley's struggle to be accepted by even radio over there. Not only do they teach us about Marley, but there's a history of Jamaica here and we learn about the battles between two rival parties and how Marley wanted peace and didn't have a political agenda.
I'd pretty much say if you're a die hard fan you'll probably know everything in this film, I certainly didn't, and was amazed at what I saw, especially about Stevie Wonder doing a concert with him.
Hopefully this will look as good on DVD as it did in the cinema - the images were pretty much cleaned up and it looks magnificent - there was only some concert footage that looked a bit dodgy, but it has been lying around for 30 years or so; so you really can't expect much better. The sound was amazing too, you really need to experience this on a home cinema system when it gets released.
Altogether this was a pleasant pass time, informative and interesting, my only gripe is it is very much from the Marley side of the family and not really from other perspectives, otherwise it's good and worth a look in August.