I love Miles Davis (no relation, despite my unrecognized musical talent) and Don Cheadle, but was “left stranded” by “Miles Ahead.” “Kind of Blue” is my second favorite jazz album (“Take Five” by Dave Brubeck being my favorite), and Don Cheadle is a great actor – who co-wrote and directed the movie, as well. I really liked the opening scene, so I was looking forward to at least a very good film, if not a great one. The movie, however, is primarily an “improvisation” that unfortunately leads nowhere. The film’s flow was chaotic, which was a creative idea to parallel Miles’ chaotic life, but, possibly because of its bare-bones plot, it just didn’t work.
The film takes place in the late 1970’s. Miles hasn’t recorded anything for five years. He is abusing alcohol and cocaine, and his life is a mess. It is rumored that he is about to make a comeback and even has a top-secret session tape. Rolling Stone magazine, without bothering to inform Miles, sends a reporter, Dave (Ewan McGregor), out to interview him. Dave soon gets entangled in Miles’ mixed-up life.
Miles’ session tape gets stolen and the “plot” involves Miles and Dave trying to get it back. The film has numerous flash-backs, mainly about Miles’ “discordant” marriage to Frances (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Although a biopic, I learned absolutely nothing about what happened in his childhood that made Miles a great musician, what caused him to unravel and temporarily lose his creativity, or how he amazingly resurrected himself to become great once again. The soundtrack is filled with wonderful Miles Davis compositions, but it’s just not enough.
It’s an OTBR, recommended only for avid Miles Davis or Don Cheadle fans.