Our friends out at Magnolia sent over a copy of “Marley” for us to review, and if you’re a reggae fan, this is pretty much required viewing. But even if you’re not, you may well still want to stick around for a deep, involved look at one of the great figures of music, and the life that made him what he was.
“Marley” is, pretty much, about just what the title implies. This is a biography of Bob Marley, chronicling his youth, the early days of his career, his revolutionary period, and all the ins and outs and everything in between. For even the greatest Bob Marley fan, there will likely be something new to learn about the man and his life, and for the rest of us, it will be an eye-opening look at one of the biggest names in music, ever.
Documentaries are mixed bags at best. When they’re good, they’re fantastic. Consider “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” and its incredible focus on one old man in Japan who is simply out to make his craft the best it can possibly be. Yet for every “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” it seems as though there’s a slow, kludgy mess that makes you resent not only the subject, but also the filmmaker for taking the life of a major figure and turning it into a spectacularly boring disaster.
In “Marley”‘s case, meanwhile, it’s a strange mix of interesting and boring. Unexpected revelations come fast and hot in this one–at least, they were unexpected on my end; Bob Marley fans may already know some of this material–and they’ve also wisely shot this through with Marley’s original music. Yet at the same time, this doesn’t have the same kind of compelling feel that “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” had, the same drive, the same sheer ambition. It’s interesting enough, but it’s without the same power. Worse, it’s a bit overlong–the thing has a run time of two hours and 25 minutes, and that’s a bit much to be talking about Bob Marley.
Of course, you’re going to have to have at least some kind of interest in Bob Marley to make “Marley” any kind of interesting, but if you have that particular prerequisite in hand, you’ll do pretty well here. Your enjoyment of this one will be influenced, very heavily, by just how much you like Bob Marley, but even if you don’t much care for the man, there will still be some value in his life’s story for you all the same.