Freedom, Love, and Rasta

It’s somewhat irrelevant to note Bob Marley: One Love follows a typical musical biopic curve. Even beginning just prior to recording Marley’s iconic album “Exodus,” One Love predictably follows the template of the rise, the fall, and the legacy.

Set against Jamaica’s political turmoil of the late ‘70s, Marley isn’t depicted as complicated in any way other than his music. His values and beliefs become comfortably repetitious – no war, love everyone. To him, it was simple, and while there’s an argument to made One Love exists in a cozy centrist perspective, it’s difficult to see how, “Don’t kill each other,” is anything other than a rational belief in society as a whole and not a baseless political talking point.

One Love keeps a casual pace, reacting but hardly engaging in any surrounding violence

One Love shows a man disinterested in money unless it helps spread a message. With money comes problems as Marley experiences himself, played impressively on-screen by Kingsley Ben-Adir. Like Marley himself, One Love keeps a casual pace, reacting but hardly engaging in any surrounding violence, choosing instead to focus on Jamaica’s famed export as he tours and records internationally for his own and his family’s safety.

The core theme is (obviously) of music (and therefore, any art) holding a power that transcends bland political speech, giving strength to the masses rather than any ruling class. People joining together to see Marley was less about celebrity fetish or showmanship than it was his words.

It’s also refreshing to see the Bible used not as a prop, but a guide. Something to believe in if needed, but not to injure or refute others. Cinemas lately use religion in either ludicrous stories of self-inflicted trauma or outright mockery, but One Love, from Marley’s own nonchalant personality, treats it as a philosophy, mingled with Jamaica’s own Rastafarian ways that deal with oppression and a belief in an eventual equality. Even with Marley’s fame, that still feels like an unfortunate societal norm; One Love’s demeanor and message won’t change much either, even if it’s rational.


Wonderfully sharp cinematography gives life to the ’70s-set imagery, producing detail in gobs, while giving the Jamaican scenery the splendor it deserves. Exteriors look reference grade in sharpness terms. with fidelity spilling in when in close.

Color follows the locale, blasting the screen with extensive warmth. Everything carries a golden/orange cast, flesh tones too where included. Greenery even looks more warm than cool green.

An intense Dolby Vision pass cranks the peak brightness, accentuating light sources whenever possible. Black levels counter with density, even if the grading favors lightening the darkest shadows ever so slightly.


In Atmos, kids shoot fireworks that fly skyward, the explosions happening overhead. Gunshots bounce between speakers, debris fields bouncing around the soundstage brilliantly. When in towns, ambient audio spreads to capture kids laughing, cars passing, or at its most dramatic, gunfire.

Marley’s music provides the low-end, giving the subwoofer plenty to do. It’s smooth, balances flawlessly, and exhibits reasonable range.


Standard, typical bonuses include extended/deleted scenes, followed by the usual featurettes – one on the cast, the adaptation process, locations, and music.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Bob Marley: One Love
  • Video
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A standard musical biopic, One Love is wrapped in personal and political turmoil to give it some weight.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 41 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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