Title – Miles Ahead (2015)
Director – Don Cheadle (feature debut)
Cast – Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michael Stuhlbarg
Plot – Music legend Miles Davis (Cheadle) remerges from the music shadows as Rolling Stones reporter Dave Braden (McGregor) tries to figure out what makes the musical master tick.
“If you’re gonna tell a story, come with some attitude, man”
Review by Eddie on 08/12/2016
I must admit to not really knowing a whole lot about Jazz and music legend Miles Davis before I sat down to partake in Don Cheadle’s directional debut Miles Ahead and after the films 90 minutes had concluded, I knew about the same, if even less.
Those seeking a traditional or even insightful look into the life and times of the musical master will be left sorely disappointed as Cheadle has gone the gonzo/”artistic” approach to offering a look at the music legends life that includes a completely over the top and fabricated side plot of Davis hitting the town with Ewan McGregor’s Rolling Stone reporter Dave Braden that suggests that this was never meant to be a biopic as such but the problem then turns to what exactly is this film?
Miles Ahead is actually one of the most hard to engage with and odd biopics I’ve ever seen and that list includes films like I’m Not There and Get on Up.
From the moment the camera zooms in and out and loses its focus as Cheadle’s incarnation of Davis (which must be said, is a performance that deserves a much better film) gets ready for a sit down interview, it’s clear Cheadle has tried and failed to deliver something that is outside the normal, something no doubt that Davis himself was.
It creates a frustrating and often irritating introduction to a film that continues to fly between scene after scene with little context and for a passion project like this film was for Cheadle, it feels like one big wasted opportunity to create something special, especially when in today’s climate there’s an audience out there (including me) that wants to know more about the legend behind the name, not just be shown a mishmash of scenes that neither seem to flow into each other or try to delve into the mindset of one histories most talented musicians.
Maybe, just maybe a film that fans of Davis will love, Miles Ahead offers the versatile and recognisable Don Cheadle a chance to show off his undeniable acting chops in a nice performance while others like the seriously clueless looking Ewan McGregor go along for a directional debut ride that suggests it’s better for Cheadle to remain in the War Machine suit for a little while longer yet.
1 ½ trumpet’s out of 5