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Bob Marley: One Love Review: Reggae, rock and no rhythm

Bob Marley... adheres to the modern biopic formula, focusing on a pivotal chapter of the protagonist’s life rather than the full birth-to-death saga. It is set in 1976 amid Jamaica's civil war and London's creative buzz.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 20:53 IST

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Bob Marley: One Love English
2024
1.5/5
Director: Reinaldo Green
Cast:Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton

Recently, the silver screen has been serenaded by a parade of musical biopics, from Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) to Rocketman (2019) and Elvis (2022). It was only a matter of time before the king of reggae, Bob Marley, got his cinematic due. Reinaldo Marcus Green's Bob Marley: One Love taps into this trend. Fresh off the heels of his acclaimed 'King Richard' (2021), helming a Marley biopic seemed like a no brainer for Green. He's seasoned in the biopic game, there's a treasure trove of material on Marley — so, does he hit the mark? Not quite!

Bob Marley... adheres to the modern biopic formula, focusing on a pivotal chapter of the protagonist’s life rather than the full birth-to-death saga. It is set in 1976 amid Jamaica's civil war and London's creative buzz. It was during this time that Marley penned his iconic ‘Exodus’ album and orchestrated the One Love concert. The film hops through time like a reggae beat — with less rhythm. When crafting a film about reggae, one ought to delve deeply into its roots, not merely garnish the plate with them like a pickled side dish. Caught in a tangle of philosophical, political, and musical threads, the film bounces around a bit too much.

Kingsley Ben-Adir ('One Night in Miami…') portrays Marley with the flair of a seasoned actor, capturing his prophetic charm and onstage dynamism. His performance is magnetic. Lashana Lynch ('The Marvels') as Rita, though deeply connected to Marley and understanding of his challenges, is as underexplored as the rest of the cast. With its shallow philosophical ponderings, the film informs us about Bob Marley yet falls into the trap of oversimplifying his story. It resembles an overly long movie trailer, pieced together with clichéd moments.

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Published 05 July 2024, 20:53 IST

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