“Bob Marley: One Love”: Reinaldo Marcus Green depicts the embalming of a prophet

It is one of those funerary monuments that we pass by saying to ourselves that the deceased must have been a person of importance, without its architecture suggesting anything about the nature of this importance. Produced by the family of Bob Marley (1945-1981) and by Plan B, Brad Pitt’s company, Bob Marley: One Love is a collection of pious images. Touching on both the greatness of the artist and his flaws, the film leaves an impression of confusion, that we know nothing about the career of the first world star from what was called “the third world” or that We know the smallest details.

Some hopes arise, however, from the bias of the scenario (due, among others, to series veteran Terence Winter), which focuses on the years going from the attack perpetrated against Bob Marley, in December 1976, in his house in Kingston, in Jamaica, on the tour which followed the release of the album Exodus (1977), at the end of the 1970s.

Very quickly, the harsh law of didactic biography takes over. Incessant flashbacks, in the form of small sketches, recount the stages of the irresistible rise of Bob Marley (the British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir, recently seen as a dissident extraterrestrial in the Marvel series Secret Invasion ); the meeting with his wife, Rita (Lashana Lynch), his discovery of Rastafarianism, the recording of his first original title.

Feeling of unreality

The film may have been shot in Jamaica under the direction of African-American director Reinaldo Marcus Green ( The Williams Method , 2021), but the ghettos of Kingston appear as the exotic setting for conventional interactions rather than as the cultural broth that gives birth of a new artistic form.

The director’s inability to bring to life characters other than the central couple further exacerbates the impression of unreality. The producer Chris Blackwell, the musicians of the Wailers, the gangsters hired to take down Marley are only silhouettes identifiable only by their jobs. And if Lashana Lynch achieves a certain majesty in her interpretation of Rita Marley, the muse constantly abandoned and rediscovered, Kingsley Ben-Adir never finds the prophetic dimension of Bob Marley.

To get an idea of what those years were like that shook Jamaica, of the war between gangs and parties, the flames of which were fanned by the antagonists of the Cold War and finally swallowed up Bob Marley and reggae, it is best to read the prodigious novel by Marlon James, Brief History of Seven Murders (Albin Michel, 2016).

You have 5% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.


Leave a Comment