“Miles Ahead” is the story of American Jazz icon, Miles Davis (Academy Award winner Don Cheadle) in the 1970’s after a five year retreat in the trumpeter’s career due to drugs and alcohol. During this time, Davis refused to grant any interviews to papers or magazines or to talk with any studio heads who disparately want Davis’s latest compositions.
Ewan McGregor plays Dave Brill, a fictional Rolling Stone reporter who desperately wants an interview, and will go to any unscrupulous means to get it. The movie turns into a buddy film to find stolen music rather than a biography with Cheadle and McGregor in hot pursuit of the culprits. Cheadle uses flashbacks to tell the story of Davis’s first abusive unhappy marriage to Frances Taylor.
Cheadle and McGregor are both excellent actors who put in stunning performances. They play off of each other nicely. I will not be surprised if both are nominated for Academy Awards for their performances.
At the New York film festival, Cheadle was asked about the authenticity of the film. “To some degree, they are all historical fiction. To some degree, everyone’s taking license, because you cannot encapsulate a life in 90 minutes, two hours, whatever it is.”
“Miles Ahead” takes place in New York City but was actually filmed entirely in Cincinnati, Ohio because “the city’s buildings could practically double for New York” during the time period. Cheadle said “The architecture and the look of Cincinnati can approximate the era that is being shot in Manhattan”. Cheadle filmed in over 30 locations in Cincinnati.
This is Cheadle’s first attempt at directing. He also co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Baigelman based on the story by Cheadle, Baigelman, Stephen Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson.
There are some explicit sex scenes, bad language, and violence in “Miles Ahead” that will offend some people so beware.
If you are a jazz fan or a Miles Davis fan you will love this film because instead of using an orchestra to provide the soundtrack, they use Miles Davis music. Cheadle turned up the music during fights so that they wouldn’t have to provide dialog. It was a brilliant move.
Unfortunately, “Miles Ahead” will not open on this side of the river. Anyone who wishes to view it will have to drive to the Tivoli in University City to see it.