Biographies on famous people are often misleading and fail to totally give the person of focus the time they really deserve, but every so often one comes along that captures them in a unique way. Don Cheadle’s passion for Miles Davis is what pushed him to not only star but also direct the film about him called Miles Ahead, but does it capture this unique man in the music business or will it be yet another missed beat?
Miles Ahead follows an exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis during his silent period in which he teams up with an unlikely partner in crime. Going into this movie you have to understand that this is not your average biopic. Much like the film Steve Jobs, this one focuses on one period in his impressive career. While this could have easily derailed with lack of real story about what the man accomplished, this film felt like it perfectly captured who he really was and old a story like only he would want it told. Cheadle is clearly all in here full immersing himself in the role and delivers a powerful performance. Running side by side with him throughout the whole films is Ewan McGregor who almost grounds the story while still adding to the chaos of it all. While the story focuses on this period of his life there are varying moments that flashback through different situations that give you a sense of everything that brought him to that moment without forcing an entire bio down the viewer’s throat. At the same time this disjointed approach makes the film a lot more chaotic than some might expect and it could throw some viewers off.
Visually this film is just as stunning to watch as it showcases a gritty tone that manages to capture the time in Davis’ life and encased by the incredible music he plays. The music brings a powerful overlay to the film that is not only a part of his story and who it is, but also as an effective story element as to his mood and the direction they are heading at that point in his life. The soundtrack alone to this film is amazing with a variety of his famed music with each song telling just as much of his story as the acting. While the film doesn’t offer up a whole lot about his career as a whole the direction still made for a compelling story that is insane in and of itself. With all that happens in just this portion of his life it is unlikely one movie would even be able to contain his whole story.
Cheadle has done a great job with his big screen directorial debut and his passion for Davis shines through creating a film that does justice to the man and his legacy without sugar coating the insanity of some of his behavior and life.