Everyone has probably heard of Bob Marley. Songs such as I Shot the Sheriff or No Woman, No Cry are timeless hits, permanently rooted in the pop culture audiosphere. But is Marley himself remembered as clearly today? Certainly, the image of a smiling guy in dreadlocks and a joint in his hand is also part of the Jamaican musician’s heritage, but saying something more about his person and career may not be so obvious. My point is that the idea of ​​presenting an attractive film biography of Marley seems to be a good idea, allowing us to look deeper into his biography and better understand where his music came from. Bob Marley: One Love gives you such a chance .

Signed by the Plan B studio and the producer’s stamp of Brad Pitt‘s quality, the film could be an interesting trip to the complicated – much more complicated than it sometimes seems from today’s perspective – world of the 1970s, when in the shadow of the Cold War flexing of the muscles of the great powers the decolonization, liberation and young democratic processes of the so-called. Third World. However, the hope that One Love will offer something cinematically interesting disappears already in the first seconds, when the opening of the film, instead of throwing the viewer into the whirlwind of Jamaica’s political and social upheaval… informs him about it using white subtitles on a black background. I honestly don’t know how many times some filmmakers have to be told “show, don’t tell” for them to absorb it. Marley begins by breaking this cardinal rule and thus sets the expectations for the rest of the screening to a level more appropriate for a documentary program on Discovery or the History Channel, rather than a cinematic spectacle. And in a case like mine, it also arouses frustration that lasts until the end credits.

It is true that we learn something about Marley in One Love, but it gives the impression that it was written in a bit of a hurry – I don’t want to say that it was generated by ChatGPT – filler between subsequent sequences illustrated with Marley’s greatest hits. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green and screenwriters Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers and Zach Baylin can be credited with the fact that they do not go too far for several years, focusing on the episode of Marley’s life in which, after an attempt on his life, he left Jamaica and recorded perhaps the most important album of his career, Exodus. In this way, the film at least has the basics of a sensible narrative structure. But don’t worry, earlier episodes of the singer’s life were also included in the script in the form of kitschy flashbacks, basically only supplementing as much information as was already introduced in the dialogues. The whole thing lacks a more interesting dramatic key that guides the audience through the story, and the subsequent episodes have an adequate flair of fictionalized cut-scenes interwoven between the statements of the talking heads. But here these information sequences got lost somewhere during editing.

Another thing I have to give to One Love is the emphasis on the Rastafarian context of Marley’s activities, thanks to which the image of a cool guy with a joint mentioned at the beginning gains a little more meaning and meaning. It’s a pity that the information regarding the messianic movement is so limited that without prior knowledge in this field it is difficult to understand what Marley is really about and what is happening around him – the creators carelessly omit even quite important events regarding the Rastafarian movement, even though that they took place exactly in the period in which the story takes place. But maybe a few random pieces of information are better than none at all.

Overall, Bob Marley: One Love is simply disappointing. Instead of a full-blooded book with an interesting character, which Marley undoubtedly was, we get a read that carelessly combines some facts, some inserts about the Rastafarian ideology and a collage of hits written by the main character. No plot seems deepened, no role is sufficiently refined, and it is difficult to draw a clearer moral from the story. Maybe because Bob Marley was cool. Or that he believed strongly in the Rasta ideology. Or that Exodus was a completely new approach to music by Marley (why – there’s no point in looking for an answer here, what matters is that it was there). Oh, maybe it’s because Michael Gandolfini, who appears in the episode, looks more and more like his father. Either way, it’s a bit small for an almost two-hour biographical and historical film. Those interested in the topic should rather refer to written sources.

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