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Marley

April 23, 2012

Marley (2012)
Director: Kevin Macdonald

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Synopsis: A documentary detailing the music and life of reggae legend, Bob Marley.

Review: I assume this production was well underway before the release of Formula One biopic Senna last year, but there are strong echoes in Marley of Senna’s use of the big screen documentary format as a means of dramatising, and, in a sense cashing in on, the appetite in the public for stories about the biggest and most tragic icons of our times.

Certainly Marley is aiming for the mainstream with its large budget and lush production values. No expense is spared to gain access to all the major familial, musical and political figures of Marley’s lifetime, and director Kevin Macdonald films with a sweep and majesty that wouldn’t be amiss on a major Hollywood production. Arguably, this expansiveness and seeming lack of limit to the film’s scope and resources is one of the film’s biggest drawbacks. Often the relative lack of spending power on a documentary forces the filmmaker to be more intimate in their craft, and to home in on one particular facet of their subject. With Marley though and its seemingly inexhaustible footage of Marley’s career and access to every major player in his life, Macdonald makes the easy – but understandable – decision to chart a layman’s whistlestop tour through the major events and turning points of Marley’s life. (April 2012)

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