Bob Marley: One Love (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

I have been a fan of Bob Marley as long as I’ve known music.  The overwhelming empowerment of the lyrics, or the glimpses into life in Trenchtown, Jamaica are eye opening and ethereal. There has yet to be a major reggae artist with the impact of Marley. Even the legendary artist’s talented children and grandchildren can’t say they’ve been as successful.  In Bob Marley: One Love, we find Bob in 1976 looking for ways to unify his homeland, not with politics but music and ideals of love and togetherness.  Find out more about Bob Marley: One Love in the review and be sure to click the cover art at the end to order a copy of the standard edition or the steelbook variation of this 4K UHD Blu-ray release!

Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures.

Film Dexter-_5

Celebrate the life and music of an icon who inspired generations through his message of love, peace, and unity. In One Love, discover Bob Marley’s powerful story of overcoming adversity and the journey behind his revolutionary music that changed the world.

Bob Marley made his worldwide recording debut in 1973 with the masterpiece album Catch A Fire. Balancing songs of protest and street life with some sensuous love songs, the album made a lasting impact that was only the beginning. Catch A Fire was followed up by Burnin’, Natty Dread, Live!, and Rastaman Vibration which all follow that same formula and are all consistently classic in their own rights.  The songs could be impactful and still carry that easy groove that Reggae is built upon.  By 1976 though, Jamaica was in turmoil with political leaders vying for control and splitting the citizens down the middle. Militant gang violence and infighting led to increasingly dangerous situations throughout the country. Bob Marley, himself not political so much as a messenger for Rastafarian awareness, sought to unite his countrymen with music.  The messenger must be the message as they say.

Smile Jamaica was a one-off concert meant to unite Jamaica with Marley and his band The Wailers at the forefront. Some of those embroiled in the gang violence, The two political parties had militant forces behind each, believed that the politicians were using Marley as a puppet.  2 days before the concert, Marley, his wife and his manager were shot in Marley’s home. A bullet grazed Rita Marley’s head, stopped only by her dreadlock. Two others were shot also and although the shooters were never caught, they were believed to be members of a Jamaican Labour Party affiliated drug gang. Marley and his bandmates who were shot all recovered and turned up to Smile Jamaica to perform for an hour and half, ending with the leaders of the JLP and the People’s National Party coming on stage with Marley who united them by hand and thus calming the fiery violence in Jamaica.

This experience changed Bob Marley and he wanted to continue to be a messenger for Rastafari, but also for love, unity, identity and maybe even his God, Hailee Selassie himself. This began the creation of Exodus, which we see in the film.  Leaving Jamaica to escape the threat of further violence, Bob sends Rita and most of his children to America to live with his mother, and Marley and the Wailers head to London, where Chris Blackwell, the president of Island Records has set up recording sessions for the band.  The sound of the record needs to be different and so they hire a British guitarist who adds some electricity to the record. Writing sessions and jam sessions prove successful and as recording goes on, Bob begins to see the punk revolution in the UK and his music, though different has some of the same implications of punk music.  There is something formidable happening during the creation of the album only further amplified by the experience of the shooting and Smile Jamaica concert.

As we witness concerts, album creation and release and other music biopic tropes, we also see the relationship between Bob and Rita.  The couple functions almost like best friends rather than husband and wife.  To each other they are the voice or reason, sanity, and calm.  In life, Bob was never faithful to Rita, and she was aware of his extramarital affairs and children. She stayed by his side from teenaged years to death and never judged him for his indiscretion.  We also see some of his children, who know their father is someone important, but they truly just see him as dad.  We also get glimpses into Bob’s past with his first moments learning about Rastafarianism, courting Rita, seeing his father abandon his mother and denying Bob is his child.  We also witness Bob’s struggles with his mixed race and how others perceive him.

Bob Marley was many things, but first he’s a human. He was not perfect, but he tried to be a good person and it’s evident in this film.  He wanted to make good music, share his life with his fans and be a source of escape or solace for those listening to him.  Embodied by Kingsley-Ben Adir, Bob Marley in the film is enigmatic, handsome, and strong as he ever was in real life.  In Rita’s shoes, LaShana Lynch is a quiet observer in her husband’s life.  She gives him guidance and falls in love with him with every love song he sings. We also have embodiments of band members and record producers and managers.  Those moments play like standard biopic fare.  Bob Marley: One Love is not perfect and although it isn’t, I am pleased that the filmmakers chose to cover the era of Exodus rather than deep diving into Marley’s whole life. That was previously done in 2012 by documentary filmmaker Kevin McDonald. That film is a long, deep dive that is unrelenting in it’s entertaining, extensive look at the music icon.  That paired with this safe yet satisfying biopic is an excellent way to learn about the legendary Bob Marley.

Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures.


Stills are for promotional use only and not from the 4K UHD Blu-ray

Encoding: HEVC/H.265

Resolution: 4K

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

HDR: Dolby Vision

Layers: BD-100

Details: Bob Marley: One Love comes home in 4K UHD with a source faithful transfer.  Digitally shot at 4.6K, the film looks crisp and clean with no issues. Textures and clarity are on full display with nothing to take away from the overall aesthetic of the film. Simply put, the film looks fantastic on 4K UHD Blu-ray.

Depth:  Focus is always sharp and looking as exact as the filmmakers most likely intended.  With nothing to distract in foreground and background shots things are pleasant looking throughout the film.

Color Reproduction: Colors are sunny and warm even when the film goes to London and a wintery Virginia. Tones of greens, reds, fiery oranges, and beautiful ocean blues pop up and look fabulous.

Black Levels: Blacks and shadow detail are just as complimentary as the colors, giving you plenty to take in even in darker scenes, and of course, no crush.

Flesh Tones: Natural looking flesh tones abound throughout the film.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish and French

Dynamics: Dolby Atmos gives a wonderful immersion to the sound of Bob Marley: One Love. Not just in performances, the sound field can envelope you. The sounds of Jamaica and London fill the speakers and low-end punch delivers for music and some unexpected gunfire.

Height: Overhead sound Is mostly concert and outdoor ambience, but this brings you right into the scene and is very complimentary.

Low-Frequency Extension: Music is at the forefront of bass and that bassline is thick! Sounding full bodied and rumbling nicely, all music sounds lovely.  The unexpected gunfire we hear also packs a punch as the bass rocks a vibration that just may rattle your chest.

Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds further immerse the listener during concert performances.  The crowd and the echo of the music always is incessant and sounds great!

Dialogue Reproduction: Clean and excellent spacing provides perfect dialogue!

Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” and Lashana Lynch as “Rita Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures.


Extras for Bob Marley: One Love are middle of the road, but pleasant.  These are standard extras with shorter lengths that you may visit once but not much more after that. The standard edition comes with a slipcover and digital code, and there’s also a simple yet beautiful glossy steelbook available too!

  • Becoming Bob Marley—Go inside the making of a legend and see Kingsley Ben-Adir transform himself into the iconic Bob Marley to capture the musician’s essence.
  • The Story: Bringing Bob Marley’s Story to Life—See how filmmakers structured the film around Bob’s music, message, and family.
  • The Cast—Sit down with the actors including Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch as they discuss their process.
  • On Location: Jamaica and England—Discover where Bob Marley lived and created some of his best music, from the beaches of Jamaica to the streets of London.
  • The Band—Explore the real-life musicians involved throughout the making of the film, including some family members of the original Wailers.
  • 8 Extended and Deleted Scenes

Lashana Lynch as “Rita Marley” and Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures.

Summary Dexter-_5

Bob Marley: One Love does not reinvent the biopic wheel.  There isn’t much innovative here and the writing is standard and as with most music-based biographies, there are moments that play like a visual greatest hits album.  Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch are fantastic in their roles but something meatier may have made this movie awards worthy.  As it stands this is a nice document of a portion of Bob Marley’s short life. The audio and video quality are excellent for this 4K UHD Blu-ray edition and as a companion to the incredible sprawling documentary Marley, this dramatized version of this period will do the trick.

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