Senior Press Pass
Many of us think we know Bob Marley. Years and years of listening to the superstar reggae musician’s works has fostered a natural sense of familiarity with the iconic singer, who stares out from the front of our T-shirts or wall hangings with all the prominence of a religious figure. Put together by Kevin McDonald, Marley is a lengthy two and a half hour film about Bob Marley, the man who brought reggae music to the masses, and was released in Trinidad on April 25th, 2012. As the running time would suggest, it’s an incredibly thorough depiction of the man’s life – spanning his poverty stricken youth, his rise to international stardom, and culminating with his tragic death from cancer in 1981. Every moment of the film is worth it. The film includes footage of Marley, as well as interviews with friends, family members, lovers and fellow musicians. Visually, Marley is as lively and colourful as its characters. There are stunning shots of the Jamaican landscape throughout the movie - from the lush, green countryside and turquoise oceans, and the muddy and rusted huts of Trench Town, to the colourful outfits worn by the locals. McDonald brings the country to such vivid life that, at the very least, this documentary doubles as a pretty good tourism brochure.
Marley was raised by his mother in Nine Mile, St Ann, Jamaica. In his early twenties, he settled in the United States with his mother, in search of a better life, and as well, to spread his peace-promoting music. The documentary clears any misconception that Marley was a stereotypical ‘stoner’. He was portrayed as a workaholic, who slept very little. His priority was always his music, and he performed at free concerts in Jamaica and Africa, even after an assassination attempt prior to his first free show in Jamaica. Though Marley defines the reggae superstar as a true revolutionary, it does not shy away from exposing his faults. Marley once said, “My heart can be hard as a stone, and yet soft as water.” Those that were closest to him often experienced his ‘heart of stone’. Interviews with his children reveal his strict personality and long absences in their lives. The documentary humanises the icon, but does not condemn his life mistakes. Whether you love Marley’s peace-preaching music, revolutionary ideals or illegal habits, this documentary is a must see. It exhibits an all-encompassing look at the idol’s career, family fortunes and misfortunes, promising an emotional in-depth analysis of one of the greatest musicians of our time. In the end, Marley paints a portrait of the famed musician in such a way that few films before it have been able to. From the big moments to the small, viewers will walk away knowing Bob Marley in a much more intimate and accurate fashion, rather than the specious, superficial or incomplete picture they may have had before.