Get Physical: Bob Marley: One Love

“Do you guys ever think about dying?” asked Margot Robbie’s plastic heroine in the blockbuster Barbie. The answer is yes. Yes, I do.

I think about it quite often actually.

Let me be clear, I have no plans to leave this plain before the higher ups say it is time. However, I do often think about death in the context of legacy. How will I be remembered when I am gone? Who will be the ones to sing my praises at my funeral? Or conversely, who will be the ones to air my dirty laundry while gleefully shoveling dirt on my coffin?

Hopefully, if I have used my time on earth well enough, there will be no one dancing on my grave, but you get the point.

The question of how one is remembered and by whom came to mind again when watching Reinaldo Marcus Green’s latest work Bob Marley: One Love (read Pat’s review). Touching on the rise of Bob Marley from his humble beginnings to his role as an international icon, the film focuses on a vital moment in the musician’s life and career.

Commencing in 1976, a time when political tensions are running high and gang warfare have turned the streets of Jamaica into a warzone, Green’s film finds Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir) at a crossroads. He has become the voice of a community and an advocate for harmony in a time when violence seems to be the only thing officials listen to. Targeted in an assassination attempt, by a gang who objected to Marley’s planned peace concert, which left him, and his wife Rita (Lashana Lynch), wounded but not fully deterred, Marley realized that it was time a change.

Taking time away from his homeland, he travelled to London to clear his head. It was there were he not only saw how punk music was becoming the voice of rebellion for white people, but eventually realized he wanted to push his sound in a bold new direction.

This desire to find creative new ways to share the Rastafarian message of faith, peace, and love led him to make of his iconic Exodus album. The record cemented Bob Marley and the Wailers to international stars and opened the door to further temptations that threatened to jeopardize Marley’s marriage to Rita. What is fascinating about Green’s film, at least in regards to the forbidden fruits that the couple each partake in, is that they are barely addressed in the film.

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Outside of a scene that alludes to Marley letting another woman into his hotel room, and an argument where the couple calls out each other’s infidelities, the extra martial dalliances are treated in a blink and you miss it fashion. Sure, the audience sees the growing tension within the couple’s union, but the film is far more concerned with the music and the growing illness that Marley attempts to ignore.

Now one can argue that not every personal detail needs to be included in a biopic, but it feels a little odd that such a key point of stress for the couple was glossed over like it was merely the first coat of nail polish.

It is only when the final credits roll that one realizes that several members of the Marley clan, including Ziggy Marley, are producers on the film. They are the ones left to continue shaping the musician’s legacy and it’s in their best interest to make it as glowing as possible.

Truth be told, it is doubtful that any revelation could tarnish Bob Marley’s impact. As any child of parents of Caribbean descent can attest, Marley’s name and music are ingrained in you from young. However, there is something also special about learning that our heroes are flawed human beings just like the rest of us. It is their foibles that make their triumphs resonate even that much more.

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There will come a point when each of our legacies will no longer be in our hands. One can only hope that it molded with love and truth. If we are lucky enough, as we see in Bob Marley: One Love, our impact will cause people to “get together and feel all right.”

Bob Marley: One Love arrives on 4K Ultra HD on May 28th.

Bob Marley: One Love 4K Ultra HD Cover

Bonus Features: Becoming Bob Marley, The Story: Bring Bob Marley’s Story to Life, The Cast, On Location: Jamaica and England, The Band, Extended and Deleted Scenes

Get Physical is a regular column featuring ramblings loosely inspired by the latest physical media releases.

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