Don Cheadle plays some fascinating riffs as writer, director and star of this offbeat biopic of jazz legend Miles Davis.
Miles Ahead is clearly a labour of love for director-co-writer-star Don Cheadle. Yet not everyone will share his passion.
His offbeat biopic of jazz legend Miles Davis (opens in new tab) plays some fascinating riffs on the trumpeter’s life. But the film’s wilder conceits border on the ridiculous.
"Car chases, shoot-outs and punch ups"
Its contrived premise finds Ewan McGregor in the role of a Rolling Stone journalist who is trying to hustle an interview with the notoriously pugnacious musician in 1979.
What ensues is a surreal tale that sees the pair dashing around New York trying to retrieve a stolen session tape, a giddy enterprise involving car chases, shoot outs and punch ups.
Flashbacks to the late-1950s and 1960s provide a more restrained counterpoint to this fantasy narrative and chronicle Davis’s turbulent marriage to dancer Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi).
These scenes give us glimpses of Davis’s personal demons, but the far-fetched thriller plot obscures rather than illuminates his restless creativity.
Certificate 15. Runtime 100 mins. Director Don Cheadle
Miles Ahead, available on Digital Download, and on Blu-ray & DVD from 22 August, courtesy of Icon Home Entertainment.
· Sundance Film Festival Q&A · Don Cheadle commentary · Featurette
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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