Bob Marley – One Love

Between 1976 and 1978 Robert Nesta Marley, known as “Bob”, lived intense years, in an alternation of great joys and painful moments. The choice to hold a concert in Kingston to reconcile Jamaica’s two main political parties turns out to be even more dangerous than expected: Bob and his wife Rita suffer an attack, but, although injured, manage to survive. Bob then temporarily leaves Jamaica to find refuge in London, where the punk people welcome him with curiosity mixed with admiration. The return to his homeland will be as a triumphant and peacemaker.

The musical biopic has always been a popular genre among the public and disliked by film critics. The reason is simple: too much pollution from fan service, an annoying tendency towards hagiography of the artistic subject.

But above all a pernicious tendency to rely on stereotypes and recurring, schematic and emphatic situations, as if to highlight on an emotional level every crucial passage of the Wikipedia biography. It is very rare that one delves into the soul of the artist and experiments with an unusual approach to the material: the exceptions are very rare, Control by Anton Corbijn comes to mind or in his own way The Doors by Oliver Stone, a cornerstone of the genre.

Bob Marley, beloved yesterday as today, was dangerously suspected of possible hagiography and Reinaldo Marcus Green quickly clarifies what the tone of Bob Marley: One Love will be. Unfortunately, all the above clich├ęs are regularly found in Green’s film: those looking for a faithful reconstruction of Bob Marley’s life will be disappointed just like those simply trying to see a good film. Green never conveys the desire to choose what to favor and what to neglect in Marley’s parable. He proceeds by accumulation or inertia, without a rudder.

Do we know that Marley loved playing football? Here the script places him in a t-shirt and shorts on every possible occasion, according to a repetita iuvant mode. At times Bob Marley: One Love seems to address the target audience Silvio Berlusconi was thinking of – “an eleven-year-old, not even very smart” – for how it reiterates elementary concepts about Bob, his habits and his relationship with Rita.

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