Time Will Tell
1992 Directed by Declan Lowney.
REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., Sept. 11, 1992
It's kind of hard to figure out who the filmmakers are targeting with this film about musician/saint Bob Marley. Not a biography, not a rockumentary, Time Will Tell is subtitled “A Celebration of the Life and Music of a Legend.” To the hardcore reggae fan, little explanation of Marley's roots in music or in Trenchtown, Jamaica is needed and all the footage spent on live performance at the expense of information is just a plus. However, even to the well-informed average fan, more background would be welcome. The film goes for large subject headings, grouping song titles under aspects of Marley's personal and Rastafarian beliefs,“War,” “Would You Be Love,” “Revolution,” for example. The early years are lumped primarily under “One Cup of Coffee.” There are times when performances, trapped in the confines of a movie theatre, seem to go on too long but as the film gathers steam and focus these moments occur less and less until Time Will Tell reveals itself as a film with a very powerful emotional pull. There really should be more footage of Jamaica itself to express the force that has come out of that country to combine and intermingle with other musics and other philosophies to unite Third World people. However, many of the performances convey the feeling of Jamaica, and early, general footage of guerilla record production, records being hand-stamped practically in back yards gets the idea across that people can quite literally, make their own music. But the focus of Time Will Tell is primarily Marley's emergence as an international star carrying the message of reggae, self-determination for all people, Rastafarianism and personal freedom. Marley says what he has to say in interviews and in his music. Quite a bit is also said in shots of Marley's funeral in 1981. He's been dead now 10 years, and as we look back at that decade of greed for Americans and brutal suppression for third world people, it does seem like a decade with no place for the likes of Bob Marley. However, not much time is devoted to mourning, instead, the final footage of Time Will Tell is of “Get Up Stand Up” and the message is clearly, “don't give up the fight.”