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“Miles Ahead” is an odd Hollywood bio of a Black jazz musician. It has all the clichés such as his being a heroin/coke addict, physically abusing his wife, (a beautiful Emayatzy Corindealdi), being beaten by police and arrested, a sex addict, etc., but it is told in a very strange way. The film deals with the past and present, sometimes in the same frame, but telling us little about the man himself.
I was looking forward to this movie because I was/am a big fan of Miles Davis’s music since I saw him for the first time at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955 when I was 19 when I was on leave from the Marines. I collected all his records and when I lived in NYC in the early 1960s I saw him in many clubs. I just knew the man as a musician nothing about him personally and the film really doesn’t help there.
There has been good word of mouth about the film, and Dan Cheadle’s performance as Miles Davis, plus his first directorial effort and he co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Baigelman. Miles has a limp but it is never explained just as his very raspy voice isn’t, unless it is and because Cheadle takes that rasp very low we don’t hear it but that’s not really the case. When I got home I googled it and it seems it was due to after operation when he wasn’t suppose to talk for 10 days he yelled on the second day! And the limp was due to a bad hip.
Another negative is that it turns into an action movie with a car chase!
While Cheadle does give a good performance I really don’t see it as an Oscar worthy one though much is being said about it unless it is a reaction to the Oscar nominations of this past February. The movie, like a jam session, is all over the place but the one constant is the music of Miles Davis on the sound track. Here, also, Cheadle makes a misstep by not playing a continuous full out, fully filmed complete music number until the end credits eventually turning into a new rap song.
Instead of seeing “Miles Ahead” I suggest you put on one of his records, sit back and be transformed by the man’s trumpet playing.
“Miles Ahead” movie trailer


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