Bob Marley was a seminal figure in popular music in the post-Beatles era: not the first person to introduce reggae to the radio but the first reggae superstar – and one of the first superstars to emerge from the Third World.
So “Marley” is a welcome documentary, one that celebrates his spirit, his creativity, his genius and his influence. If it errs on the side of hagiography, well, at least it gives us glimpses of previously unseen (and unheard) Marley performances, and as much interview footage as filmmaker Kevin Macdonald could collect.
Why, then, does “Marley” feel incomplete? Make no mistake: I enjoyed the film and found the interviews intriguing – with everyone from Chris Blackwell (who signed Marley to his record label) to Bunny Wailer (one of Marley’s original bandmates) to his wife Rita, his girlfriend Cindy Breakspeare and a couple of his children.
They tell a story of young Bob who, as a kid, always wanted to make music and began recording at a young age. He also had a highly developed sense of social justice, which sprang from his poverty-stricken youth and his own sense of being an outsider because he was mixed race, the son of a British soldier who never acknowledged him.
This review continues on my website.