The most surprising aspect of director Kevin McDonald’s authoritative documentary about enigmatic reggae music legend Bob Marley is that it has taken so long for such a film to be made. Working from an exhaustive number of precious photos, archival film footage, and interviews with Bob Marley and his family members, musicians, and girlfriends, McDonald (the superb “Touching the Void”) tells a fascinating story of enormous success against all odds. Even audiences who don’t identify themselves as fans of Bob Marley’s music will find much to appreciate in the charismatic singer’s humanitarian message. From his impoverished youth as an outcast mixed-race child in Trench Town, Jamaica, to his status as a leading figure of popular music, Bob Marley is brought to light as a shy but complex man with an ingrained lust for music, women, soccer, and life. “Marley” is as balanced a documentary as you could hope for, considering the enormity of its subject. At long last, Bob Marley’s life story is told in film.
Rated PG-13. 144 mins. (A-) (Four Stars - out of five/no halves)
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