Long before Snoop Dogg became Snoop Lion and various artists faked Jamaican accents, there was Bob Marley. The new documentary titled oh so creatively Marley gives what could be the most extensive and detailed account of the young musician's rise to fame.
Marley mixes archival footage and interviews to tell the story of the reggae artist, someone who I knew very little about. I've never been interested in the history of music or the stories of popular artists, so I've never bothered to learn much about those in the industry unless a movie is made about them. I've also never been into reggae, though Bob Marley's music still stands above the rest.
From the director of The Last King of Scotland and the excellent documentary Touching the Void, Marley is an excellent production that takes full advantage of Marley's music while painting a vivid picture of what motivated the artist to succeed. At nearly two and a half hours, the movie ran the risk of becoming a slog, but its brisk pacing and superb editing by Dan Glendenning makes it surprisingly engaging and effective in its storytelling.
There's really not much else to say.
Whether reggae is your thing or not, Marley is an excellent documentary. Whether it be Snoop Lion or some other copycat, there can only be one Bob Marley, and Kevin Macdonald's Marley makes the definitive case as to why.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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