Bob Marley: One Love Review

Bob Marley: One Love Review
Bob Marley: One Love Review
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Bob Marley’s life was short but he managed to do a lot. He introduced the reggae sound into the mainstream, produced albums that have sold at least 75 million copies, became a globally renowned star in his own right and an icon of our time, and preached peace and unity. He died aged only 36 at a time when he was at the peak of his career. The one who is best suited for the biopic is him; on this note, Reinaldo Marcus Green does justice to such an undertaking in King Richard. As a narrative concerning the events in Marley’s life after attaining adulthood, it is soundly sincere yet appears timid not to go too deep. So now we get to this Bob Marley: One Love review.

It starts in 1976 when Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir) is already a big deal. In fact, he has already conquered America as well as being the epitome of Jamaican culture which was deeply divided politically with violence accompanying politics as always. And so Marley plans for a ‘Smile Jamaica’ concert aimed at uniting people beyond politics. Two days before that date attempted murder leaves Bob wounded and his wife Rita (Lashana Lynch) admitted to the hospital. Despite this Marley still performs during the concert. One Love tells us about how Bob transcended being just a musician but also became someone who could bring everyone together; an existence that made other lives richer.

Green details important parts of this era – hilarious sections where Marley & Wailers found their next album Exodus’ sound, strain on marriage due to fame, punky ’70s London leading to some cultural clashes; finally, a homecoming fit for heroes in Jamaica etcetera. However it contains more dates than it has space for character exposition. There are four writers credited here including Green and Terence Winter from Wolf Of Wall Street but none of them develops the script up to its potential level whereby it can discuss most problematic areas in Bob Marley’s life. Only a street confrontation about him having sired children outside of his marriage is given to the wife while other instances are not seen or heard. The film only hints at his early years of child-rearing through some unclear, ambiguous, and short-lived flashbacks that only leave out more questions than answers. It also seems like it wants to say something but is afraid of saying anything negative about Marley thus resulting in the “objective” distance.

The most important thing though is Ben-Adir’s performance as Marley. This actor does not resemble Bob physically in any way but he captures the man’s casual, nonchalant style of being and a live-wire on-stage presence. He convinces you that he can both yearn for and reject fame, aware of its potential positive impact on others and harmful consequences on himself. Even when almost everyone loses their original accents around him, he keeps pronouncing every word distinctly. Among the dozens of clichés that characterize this movie, he is one saving grace.

Read Bob Marley: One Love Movie Review on Fmovies

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