Marvin Arrington Sr. is a name most might not be familiar with. A quick Google search identifies him as an American judge from the Fulton County Superior Court, but as the opening segment of the award-winning Bo Legs: Marvin Arrington Sr., An Atlanta Story shows, that is clearly only scratching the surface. Writer and director Adelin Gasana, along with a capable group of creatives, dives deep into the life of Atlanta’s own Arrington Sr., with all his incredible accomplishments put on full display.
Right off the bat, Gasana and his production team nail the flow of the documentary format. A superb narrator in Lyn Vaughn Vann, sleek opening credits, and chapter titles frame the film very well. The subjects are well-chosen, each with an account that reveals the professional and personal sides to Arrington’s biography.
Born into a segregated environment, the documentary shows, in great detail, how Arrington challenged barriers in all walks of life. He defied his namesake to become a star football player at his high school, became a student activist, and perhaps most significantly, went on to serve as the longest-serving city council president of Atlanta. To talk about Marvin Arrington Sr. means also discovering the rich history of the area he served, and the recounts do a great job balancing both, while the archive footage and accompanying images are effectively used in illustrating the rise of economic and cultural growth, a lot of which was ushered in with the oversight of Arrington.
The sound design leaves much to be desired, however. Interviews can sound muffled or incorrectly recorded at times, with music also occasionally overpowering the dialogue. It’s an issue that persists throughout an otherwise inspiring 114 minutes.
Gasana’s documentary gives proper recognition to a city and the man who helped shape it. Uplifting and educational in equal measure, Bo Legs recounts the storied legacy of one Marvin Arrington Sr. – and does so with an affectionate understanding of its main subject.