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Film: Bob Marley: One love
Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton, Tosin Cole, Umi Myers, Anthony Welsh, Nia Ashi, Aston Barrett Jr., Anna-Sharé Blake, Gawaine “J-Summa” Campbell, Naomi Cowan, Alexx A-Game, Michael Gandolfini  Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green  
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Rating: 3/5
Runtime: 104 min

This film barely scratches the surface of Bob Marley’s life. The platitudes are all there but the narrative doesn’t dig deep enough nor does it make the experience weighty and unforgettable. This film encapsulates just a few critical years of Marley’s life with brief, repetitive ‘flashback’ forays into his deprived childhood. Yet, surprisingly it does manage to get right into the heart of the lion who refused to back off even when staring death in the face. Reggae artist and peace proponent, Bob Marley deserved a much deeper biopic but we’ll make do with this hagiography just as well.

Bob Marley, reckoned as one of reggae music’s greatest singer/songwriters and performers, lives on through his lyrics and his peaceful Rastafarian beliefs which centered around the I and I philosophy. That’s mainly what Marcus Green’s narrative circulates.  His protest songs and love songs play on in the story while Marley goes about his business making a name for himself, away from Jamaica – after he was forced to abandon his home following a botched assassination attempt days before his ‘Smile Jamaica’ concert meant to bring peace between two warring factions. His unforgettable legacy to the world of music and the world at large comes through quite succinctly here.

The soundtrack has the choicest of Marley’s work acting as a narrative of his brief life – lending emotion and clarifying his mission. The lyrics of the songs encapsulate the era being depicted, beautifully. Marley believed reggae was the way to tap into the conscience of the people and convey the message of peace and freedom.  His songs, ‘No More Trouble,’ ‘ Guiltiness’ and ‘Redemption Song’ are an embodiment of that inherent belief. Bob Marley: One Love is a mystical experience.

Considering that it is endorsed and produced by the Marley family, and focused mainly on his vision of hope, love, unity, and the making of his definitive album; Exodus, this might seem like a superficial effort. Marcus Green still manages to make it entertaining and thought-provoking. The icing though are the performances by Kingsley Ben-Adir who does well to embody the essence of being Bob Marley even though he doesn’t look it, and Lashana Lynch putting in yet another magnificent performance ( After ‘The Woman King’) as his wife, companion, confidant, back-up singer and chief motivator Rita. This film has the power to move you because of them!



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