Marley brings the legend’s legacy home

Marley is available on DVD & Blu-ray 20 August

2012 has already been a year full of excellent documentaries and one of its finest, Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, sees its home entertainment release (on Blu-ray and DVD) on Monday 20 August.  The reggae and cultural icon gets the definitive treatment here, as nearly two and a half hours are dedicated to delving into his life and influence.  Marley isn’t the first documentary to focus on the life and times of Robert Nesta Marley, but it should be the last, as it would be nigh on impossible to top Macdonald’s thorough coverage of the superstar.

As Marley covers Bob’s life and career, so too does it provide a lesson on the evolution of reggae, which Marley played a pivotal part in.  His years with the Wailers are fully explored with the aid of valuable and rare input from the sole surviving member of the original trio, Bunny Wailer.  Marley’s rise in prominence within the music industry would be interesting enough, even without the political impact he would go on to make, but Macdonald covers all angles.  Marley illustrates the power his music had to bring people together and Bob’s unwavering commitment to his spiritual beliefs that helped form his message.

Personally, Marley paints the picture of a man searching for satisfaction and a place to belong.  The effects of being born mixed race and raised father-less are made evident through interviews with friends and family of Marley.  Macdonald presents a balanced view of an imperfect figure who continues to inspire to this day, over thirty years after cancer claimed his life.  His untimely death is another area that Macdonald sheds a revealing light upon.  After being walked through Marley’s life; meeting his fellow musicians, lovers and children, and seeing how influential he was in his home country of Jamaica, the tale of his final few months is made all the more sorrowful.  Marley makes it easy to understand how just unique Bob Marley was and how unfortunate losing someone so capable of successfully promoting positive messages worldwide was.

Needless to say, Marley benefits from a truly sublime soundtrack consisting of the reggae legend’s most famous songs, placed alongside more obscure tracks which are provided insightful and, at times, touching context.  Macdonald’s documentary of the singer-songwriter’s life is a must-see for music fans of all sorts, as the true power found within music has rarely been made this clear.  Fans of the man himself will likely regard Marley as the final word on his brilliant career and fascinating life.

The DVD release of Marley includes the “Around the World” featurette which illustrates how Marley’s music still deeply resonates through regions, impoverished and otherwise, all over the world.  Testimonials from ordinary people in Jamaica, Japan, Africa, and Tibet demonstrate how Marley’s songs speak a universal language that knows no borders.  The 18-minute piece is an excellent depiction of a legacy that shows no signs of diminishing.  The Blu-ray release also includes an extended interview with Bunny Wailer, concert footage from Marley’s 1975 Manhattan Center performance along with “Children’s Memories” and “Listening to I’m Loose”.

Check out LondonFilmFanatiq’s full review of Marley‘s cinematic release here.


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Amateur film critic and photographer residing in sunny London.