Marley (15) / Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (12A) / Lockout (15)

One love – but many girlfriends

Every great artist deserves a great documentary. Martin Scorsese's epic bio-docs of Bob Dylan and George Harrison suggested as much, and Marley confirms it. Without having been a great fan or follower of Bob Marley and his music before now, I can't say precisely which information in Kevin Macdonald's film is new, but – narrated via unprecedented interviews with the singer's friends, family and close colleagues – it is comprehensive, absorbing and inspirational.

Marley was born an outsider, the son of a black Jamaican mother and an absent white father. His mixed race meant he was bullied by his contemporaries in rural St Ann's, where he was born, and in Kingston's Trench Town slum, where he grew up. One interviewee even blames his white genes for the melanoma that would eventually kill him. But as his fame grew, Marley transformed himself from an outsider into a unifier: of colours, of religions, of the rich and poor, of the opposing sides in Jamaica's horrifying political violence. When asked why he'd moved into Island House, the commune he created on the same street as the Prime Minister's residence, he said: "Sister, I bring the ghetto uptown."

The film doesn't shy away from his failings; Marley had 11 children from seven different relationships, and the painful effect of his infidelity on his wife, Rita, and her two children is clear. But Marley is more complex and admirable than most rock stars, and his music defies scepticism. There are 50 of his songs on the soundtrack and, at two-and-a-half hours, Marley is long for a cinema documentary. An earlier cut allegedly ran to four hours; if Macdonald were to release that version as a Scorsese-style BBC4 double bill, I'd gladly watch the lot.

Lasse Hallstrom's filmography, full of defanged adaptations of semi-difficult tomes such as The Cider House Rules and The Shipping News, is the cinematic equivalent of the Richard & Judy Book Club. Now he's adapted a book that actually was in the Richard & Judy Book Club: Paul Torday's 2007 comic novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Dr Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) is an uptight civil servant and fisheries expert who is landed with the improbable task of transplanting 10,000 salmon to the Middle East on the whim of a fly-fishing Yemeni sheikh (Amr Waked) and the Prime Minister's press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) who's desperate for a good news story from the region. Jones is persuaded of the scheme's plausibility by the sheikh's comely business consultant, Harriet (Emily Blunt). In the desert, an unlikely – though predictable – romance blooms.

Films for the mum demographic tend to contain certain familiar elements: beloved British actors, understated love stories, international travel. The recent Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, for which Judi Dench and Bill Nighy held hands in India, was a fine example. But the plot machinery of Salmon Fishing ... turns too visibly to be convincing. The love triangle created by Harriet's dashing soldier boyfriend climaxes with a particularly crass plot twist, while the broad-brush political subplot stretches credulity like the daft Downing Street sections of Love, Actually.

McGregor, still twinkly and charismatic in early middle age, is miscast as a buttoned-up angler, though he becomes more believable with every button undone. Scott Thomas plays the PM's spin-doctor like a bowdlerised Malcolm Tucker, swearing gland amputated so as not to incur a box office-unfriendly rating. Thus, what might have been an interesting satire on the gulf between idealism and cynical political spin soon dissolves into chaste romantic sludge. But if it doesn't quite leap, then Salmon Fishing in the Yemen does at least float leisurely upstream on the strength of its stars' charm.

The credits for Lockout suggest it was developed "from an original idea by Luc Besson". But if you happen to have rented a lot of bad sci-fi B-movies in the 1990s, it ought to strike you as anything but "original". A high-security, low-orbiting space prison featured in the execrable Fortress 2: Re-Entry in 1999. And a rogueish criminal was sent to retrieve the President's daughter from the clutches of dangerous convicts in Escape from LA (1996). There are even shades of Seagal's Under Siege (1992) in the prickly flirtation between Lockout's rogue (Guy Pearce) and first daughter (Maggie Grace). As bad sci-fi B-movies go, it's cheap enough to be inoffensive, but not quite silly enough to be lovable. If an actor of Pearce's calibre craves some harmless fun, he could at least make sure a few of his character's incessant quips are funny.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone