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.

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own