Bob Marley: One Love – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Mark Pacis

Bob Marley: One Love

Bob Marley: One Love is a biopic that captures the essence of the legendary reggae musician Bob Marley. The film offers an intimate look at a pivotal period in Marley’s life, specifically focusing on the time between his Smile Jamaica concert and his return to Jamaica with the One Love concert.

One Love takes the audience on a compelling journey, traversing Marley’s personal and professional milestones. We are drawn into his world as we witness his struggles with racial identity, political unrest, and the pressures of fame. The film memorializes his unwavering dedication to his roots and music to create an emotional connection that resonates long after the credits roll.

One of the film’s most captivating features is its vibrant soundtrack, which includes some of Marley’s most beloved hits. Songs like “One Love,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and “Redemption Song” are not just background noise but integral to the storytelling. They enhance emotional moments and drive the narrative forward, celebrating Marley’s music and its powerful impact on the world.

Yet, none of this would’ve been possible without the immersive transformation of Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley. Ben-Adir delivers a powerful performance as Marley, skillfully embodying the icon’s charisma, passion, and complexity. His portrayal brings depth to Marley’s character, showcasing the public figure and the private man behind the music. Also, supporting performances by Lashana Lynch as Rita Marley and James Norton as Chris Blackwell adds layers to the story, providing insights into Marley’s personal relationships and professional alliances. Lynch, in particular, shines as Rita, portraying her as a robust and supportive figure in Marley’s life.

However, the film is not without its flaws. While it beautifully captures Marley’s spirit and music, it sometimes glosses over critical moments in his life. Certain political and social complexities are addressed superficially, leaving viewers wanting more depth and context. Additionally, the film’s focused timeline can feel somewhat limiting, with some events and developments feeling rushed or underexplored.

Also, the film sensitively depicts Marley’s battle with cancer and the complex dynamics within his family and band. Still, it could have delved deeper into these aspects to provide a more nuanced view of the man behind the legend.

Overall, Bob Marley: One Love is more than just a biopic; it’s a jubilant celebration of a cultural icon whose music continues to inspire and unite people around the world. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or new to Marley’s music, this film is a must-watch. It beautifully captures the spirit of Bob Marley and leaves the audience with a renewed appreciation for his legacy. It inspires us all to carry his message of love, peace, and unity forward. This celebration of Marley’s enduring impact on music and culture is sure to leave the audience feeling uplifted and inspired.

Movie Review: 3/5 atoms

James Norton as “Chris Blackwell” and Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love

Bob Marley: One Love hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a native 4K, HEVC / H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR10 presentation with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The Dolby Vision technology enhances brightness and highlights light sources beautifully. Black levels are deep, though shadows are slightly lighter. Most of the concert footage is shot at night or in low-light venues and looks impressive. The colors are warm, giving everything a golden/orange hue, even making greenery appear warmer.

The visuals are impressive from the start, showcasing a wide range of details from Jamaica to London. The production design authentically recreates the early and mid-1970s, and the sharp cinematography brings the ’70s to life by capturing the beauty of the Jamaican scenery. The exterior shots are also remarkably sharp and detailed. However, the picture sometimes has a slight haze, possibly due to compression noise or a film filter effect. Fortunately, this inconsistency is minor and doesn’t detract from the viewing experience.

Video Review: 4/5 atoms

Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley”, Anna-Sharé Blake as “Judy Mowatt”, Lashana Lynch as “Rita Marley”, and Naomi Cowan as “Marcia Griffiths” in Bob Marley: One Love

Bob Marley: One Love hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos or a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD audio presentation if Atmos is not supported. This review will cover One Love‘s Dolby Atmos mix. The Atmos sound mix is awe-inspiring during the big concert scenes, creating a considerable soundscape with distinct crowd noise and music coming from all directions. Not to mention, Marley’s songs sound fantastic, like you’re in the recording studio. Even during quieter moments, the mix stays immersive. For instance, gunshots and debris move brilliantly between speakers. In town scenes, you can hear kids laughing, cars passing, and even gunfire in the background. The film uses sound creatively in the overhead speakers with effects like fireworks exploding overhead. Of course, not only is this film full of Marley’s music, but it’s also a dialogue-heavy film. Thankfully, the dialogue takes priority and is always clean and clear.

Audio Review: 4.5/5 atoms

Lashana Lynch as “Rita Marley” and Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love
Special Features

Bob Marley: One Love doesn’t have any bonus features on the Ultra HD disc. However, the following bonus features can be found on the HD Blu-ray disc:

  • Becoming Bob Marley
  • The Story: Bringing Bob Marley’s Story to Life
  • The Cast
  • On Location: Jamaica and England
  • The Band
  • Extended and Deleted Scenes
Features Assessment

“Becoming Bob Marley,” which spans just over seven minutes, delves into Kingsley Ben-Adir’s preparation for the role. In this featurette, Ben-Adir discusses his approach to embodying the music icon, including his physical transformation and the challenge of learning Patois. Moreover, the cast and crew share their admiration for Ben-Adir’s performance, noting how naturally he delivered the unique dialogue, making it seem that everyone in the film was authentically Jamaican.

Another featurette, “The Story: Bringing Bob Marley’s Story to Life,” focuses on the filmmakers’ unorthodox approach to the biopic. They aimed to tell Marley’s story differently from typical biographical films. Furthermore, “The Cast” is a ten-minute segment highlighting the actors portraying significant figures in Bob Marley’s life. This featurette underlines the actors’ contributions and the depth they brought to their roles.

In addition, filming on location presented its own set of challenges and rewards, as covered in the featurette, “On Location: Jamaica and England.” This segment explores the complexities and benefits of shooting in these two key locations, which are integral to Marley’s life.

Additionally, the ten-minute featurette “The Band,” spotlights the real-life musicians involved in playing Marley’s music in the film. Their work was crucial in achieving the authentic sound and feel the filmmakers desired. The film includes ten minutes of extended and deleted scenes for those interested in additional content. These scenes offer further insight and depth, providing fans with more context and background to Bob Marley’s story.

Bob Marley: One Love SteelBook

Also, Paramount Home Media Distribution has released a special SteelBook edition for the film Bob Marley: One Love. This glossy SteelBook features an illustration of Bob Marley on the cover, adorned with the colors of the Rasta flag. On the back, you’ll find some of Marley’s inspirational words, also in the Rasta flag colors. Inside is another illustration of Marley, shaded with a gradient of the three primary Rasta colors.

Special Features Review: 3/5 atoms

Overall, Bob Marley: One Love is a captivating film that beautifully captures the essence of the music icon. The Ultra HD Blu-ray offers an outstanding video presentation with vibrant colors and sharp details, while the audio mix delivers an immersive experience that truly brings Marley’s music to life. Additionally, the bonus features include insightful featurettes and special content.

Overall Review: /5 atoms

Bob Marley: One Love is now available in stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was provided by Paramount Home Media Distribution for review purposes.