Man behind the myth
JUST to be clear, this is not the true story of the pooch that took a one- way trip to the vet at the end of that much- loved Owen Wilson movie.
No, Marley is a deep- focus documentary look at the life, times and legacy of Jamaican music icon Bob Marley, who died ridiculously young at the age of 36 in 1981.
To use reggae parlance, the 145- minute Marley is styled very much as a slow jam by Scottish filmmaker Kevin Macdonald.
Everyone who knew, loved or loathed the enigmatic subject gets their say.
Some stick to the usual sycophantic party lines heard in music docos. Others break ranks and bust loose with the insider info.
This is just as it should be, considering the extraordinary amount of living Bob Marley packed into his short life.
You don’t father 11 children by seven different women unless you’re making the most of every moment.
The predominantly talky structure of Marley was foisted upon Macdonald, largely because so little usable archival footage exists of the man at the peak of his powers.
A 60 Minutes story on Marley by Australia’s George Negus is one of the few
complete interviews in existence and crops up regularly throughout the film.
Nevertheless, Macdonald’s open- door interview policy pays off brilliantly for the documentary because a majority of the speakers are as eloquent as they are colourful in their own right. Marley’s militant former sideman Bunny Wailer, for instance, warrants a movie of his own after this.
In addition to superbly proving Marley’s credentials as a poet, philosopher and musical alchemist par excellence, the documentary also captures the dramas that defined life with Bob Marley on a daily basis.
Take one week in 1976 as a case in point. One day, he barely survives a bloody assassination attempt in the kitchen of his home. The next, he plays a sell- out show in the Jamaican capital that defuses a potential meltdown on the eve of the country’s federal elections.
As expected, the music soundtrack is brilliant, with many stunning demos and alternate versions of classic Marley cuts that will surprise and revitalise long- time fans.
Now showing State Cinema