Originally posted on Sound Colour Vibration:
Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley was and still is an international superstar. His death in 1981 cut his life and monumental career short but his music lives on and his popularity has grown exponentially. Not only did he leave 11 confirmed children behind, he left the legacy of bringing reggae music into the international spotlight. Bob Marley promoted the growth of the Rastafarian religion, that was before the 70′s, only known on his tiny island of Jamaica. His spirit has resonated through many cultures, generations and even armed conflict. All who love his music have their own reasons for identifying with the man; some feel his music is a universal truth and to others his music incites a sense of self-determination. Up until this point, the most detailed account of Bob Marley’s life has been chronicled through the eyes of Rita (his wife) in her book: No Woman No Cry and other attempts have been made in the past to document portions of Marley’s career as well. Whether it was record companies or bootleggers in the prior attempts, most releases have fallen short of accurately or completely displaying Bob’s whole story. Everything about that last sentence is about to change come April 20, 2012 when Marley enters into the consciousness of the eyes and ears of the world.
Marley, the new documentary by Academy award winning director Kevin Macdonald is of course based on the late reggae superstar Bob Marley and displays in genuinely perfect balance the singer/songwriter and musicians life from the cradle to the grave. The goal of this documentary was to find out as the director put it: “Why does he still speak to people around the world (because he clearly does) and why does he speak to people so much more profoundly than any other rock artist or popular music artist?” This question has not been answered by or even asked in any Bob Marley movies this reviewer has seen. This film goes above and beyond that scope. Not only does this movie show the motivation behind Bob’s sound, as an audience we are allowed intimate views into the reasons behind Bob’s lyric writing, relationships, sports, religion, politics, family, his role to his community and so many other areas of his life. Interviews from people that knew Bob best are included; whether it be band mates, room mates, lovers or family; a new perspective is laid out on Robert Nesta Marley as the world has never seen before. Many of the people interviewed had their own individual view of Bob as a man; this created a process of evaluation towards the interviews to create a linear story that was substantiated by correlation rather than face value. Bob Marley had the sense to not hold business agreements as paramount with his handling of his associates; (in business, personal affairs and life mates) so with his early passing those who relied on him had to sort out the issues with him leaving no formal will. Directly affecting the type of memories his band mates and family remembered due to the period of uncertainty after his death; this was barely and briefly mentioned in the film; which was definitely in good taste and I assume done to not take away from the greatness that was achieved by Bob Marley. Our screening access from the Bob Marley foundation to the prestigious Charles Aidikoff Screening Room in Beverley Hills this month provided one of the most marvelous settings to witness this film. As the screening room for some of the first screenings of Stars Wars from George Lucas among many other genre defining film, the rooms atmosphere set the stage high for Marley. With all expectations set to the highest level, Kevin Macdonald’s Marley instantly became the greatest documentary I had ever seen and a new guide book to how documentaries of this much weight and cultural important should be made.