Miles Ahead isn’t quite the bio-pic on the life of Miles Davis you may be expecting from the first-time director Don Cheadle – the story is only inspired from certain moments from the legendary Jazz Musicians life but that doesn’t mean this is any the less intriguing.
Don Cheadle not only don’s the director’s hat for his directorial debut for Miles Ahead but he has also penned and stars in this chaotic picture inspired by certain events in Davis’s life. What Cheadle has gone on to create is a totally outlandish but completely mesmerizing movie. The only problem that lies within the film is the fact we don’t experience what truly made Davis a legend. It’s not a conventional biopic and Cheadle has taken his creative license and run wild with it.
Ewan McGregor plays Dave Brill, a Rolling Stone reporter who is out to just try his luck and get a comeback story for the magazine. Unfortunate for him he encounters Davis at a low point, desperate for a hit of cocaine and in the midst of a battle with Columbia Records over money to produce more music. McGregor provides a fine performance as he is dragged into Davis wild and violent life, acting as his gun-toting wing man in a battle against an evil money grabbing producer (Michael Stuhlberg) when the Davis precious piece of music is stolen and they are lead on a car chase filled mission in order to get the music back.
This isn’t all we are honoured with, we are given a glimpse into certain moments in Davis’s early life and his relationship with his first wife Francis (Emayatzy Corinealdi) – his one true love – as we carousel back and forth between these two stories all set off by certain pieces of music or happenings transporting Davis back to reminisce over his past giving just a slight idea of what made Davis the man he became. To begin with the pacing of this sequence is extremely rapid, just like a rollercoaster and should come with a health warning but it soon settles in within the structure of the film.
The camerawork – just like the jazz soundtrack the film is accompanied by – is chaotic in places, almost seeming rushed as it ping-pongs from one subject to another to another. At times makes you want to take it by its shoulders and give it a good shake to snap it out of its excitable mood. But as Cheadle has stated he never wanted this to be a conventional biopic and he has shown his hand with an impressive art worthy impression.
Don Cheadle really is the true star of this film, he has completely immersed himself into the role – probably because it really is his baby – he’s erratic and so convincing you can’t help but think you really are watching the man himself.
Miles Ahead is out in cinemas 22nd April.