You’re going to hear critics declaring Miles Davis as the role Don Cheadle was ‘born to play’ after seeing Miles Ahead; a biographical film focusing primarily on two separate periods of the influential jazz musician’s life.
They’d be right. Cheadle as Miles Davis feels completely natural, and the movie is worth watching for his performance alone. But will it hold your interest beyond that?
Not only does Don Cheadle star as Davis himself, but this is also his directorial debut. Ewan McGregor co-stars as Rolling Stone reporter Dave Braden, whose pursuit of and subsequent interview with Davis during the musician’s barren years or semi-retirement between 1975-79 is the main anchor of this film. The narrative jumps between that present time period – with McGregor and Cheadle playing well off each other in a number of entertaining scenes, as they deal with Davis’ producers who are pressuring him to release his comeback record – and flashbacks to the peak of Davis’ early career, revealing details of his passionate and tumultuous relationship with his wife.
Needless to say the film may appeal most to fans of Davis, or at least anyone with the slightest interest in jazz music. Having said that, as a standalone drama this story is entertaining and occasionally hilarious; on that note it’s worth bearing in mind the movie takes some creative liberties with its subject.
Within Miles Ahead undoubtedly lies one of Don Cheadle’s best-ever performances; a fine turn from McGregor alongside him; and a script that holds your intrigue from beginning to end. This is a strong directorial debut from Cheadle, one in which his passion for the subject shines through.
8 / 10