Miles Ahead

"Wildly entertaining take on the life of Miles Davis.""Don Cheadle is magnetic, menacing, charismatic and deep in this tour de force." (Movie Nation)

"Don Cheadle deftly sidesteps the pedestrian potholes of the biographical drama in his debut as writer-director, Miles Ahead, also taking on the role of mercurial 20th century jazz innovator Miles Davis. The film’s freeform riffs on highs and lows from the musician's life are a fine example of structure emulating the ever-evolving style of an artist defined by unrelenting experimentation.

“Cheadle's approach makes it clear from the outset that Davis was too elusive a man for straightforward portraiture. But his tribute to the artist is energized at every step by a fitting improvisational spirit, echoed onscreen in Davis' performances, and also in his thoughts on everything from Chopin to boxing to ballet.

“The film's entry point is the five-year gap in Davis' output during the second half of the 1970s, when the musician remained holed up in his New York home, besieged by chronic pain from a degenerative hip condition and addled by drugs. The script uses the familiar figure of a crafty journalist to get a literal foot in the door, when Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor), claiming to be on assignment from Rolling Stone, doesn't let a punch in the nose deter him from a juicy story. The existence of an unheard session tape that falls into the hands of unscrupulous record producer Harper Hamilton (Michael Stuhlbarg), and Miles' reckless attempts to recover it, drive much of the late-'70s action.

“Cheadle's fully inhabited characterization nails the subject's nicotine-scratched rasp and his eccentric irritability and paranoia with discerning understatement. More important, he conveys the idea of a man who was always composing and arranging in his head, haunted as much by past successes as personal failings.

“Rather than build toward the neat conclusion of an emergence from isolation, the movie gestures with economy toward Davis' return to creativity.” - Hollywood Reporter


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