“ Don’t call my music jazz, It’s social music”
If you are a fan of music, then you know who Miles Davis is. Few have had the effect on music like Davis, he was the definition of cool. Greatness though can sometimes be hard to convey in a condensed story, which is maybe why very few films have been made about Davis. Enter Don Cheadle, who wears just about every hat in his telling of Davis’s story. Not only does he star, but his also directs, co-writes and produces and all of them pretty well.
The story opens up just like you would expect a Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) movie should, with a car chase. What you don’t know amongst the screeching tires and gunfire is that what this is all about is a retrieval of a session tape by Davis. While we try and sort through what we are seeing, we are taken back to an interview of Davis that is being conducted by Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor) about his comeback. Watching Davis get ready for his return to the spotlight, we also are taken back to when he met Francis (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a woman he would go on to marry, and who would also it seems to cause some heartache as well. Like all great musicians Davis has complete control of his art, and very little of his life.
This film is not so much a story about Miles Davis as it feels like one from his heart. When it comes to a telling someone’s story, you have to wonder what might that person think of it, well with “Miles Ahead” I think Davis would’ve enjoyed it. Cheadle brings the “coolness” that seemed to ooze from the man as being Davis was seen as enough to solve most problems. Cheadle is really the only performance that stands out unfortunately, as everyone else seems to be more background noise then members of the band. The tune the films plays hits the right note through most of the film, but does hit some flat spots. “Miles Ahead” won’t be thought of as a definitive look at Miles life, but more of as a glance, as the mystery adds to Davis’s life more than knowing everything about him. This film is easy to enjoy, as much as the music of the man it’s about. So go for the performance of Cheadle and stay for the music, because good or great, it does feel ‘cool’.