For Reel

Miles Ahead (2015)
July 15, 2016, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Don Cheadle
2 Stars
Miles AheadOften in Miles Ahead, the fictionalized version of Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) laments the public’s fixation on his old material, arguing instead that his fans should constantly be looking forward. It plays as the mantra for this strange quasi-biopic in which Davis’ story is told with only a care for a certain mythical truth—that much of it plays as a Blaxploitation picture, including drug deals, drawn guns, and car chases upsets the standard of its genre, reveling in unapologetic sensationalism. It’s a fitting, experimental twist for the subject involved, but ultimately Miles Ahead still falls into some of the same trappings as its kin—that Davis’ most haunted period is linked to a previous heartbreak plays as a simplification at best. Cheadle brings the raspy voice and a surprisingly imposing physical presence (his Davis is very much an intimidating, no-nonsense agitator), but as a writer/director gets bogged down in his own ambition. Much of the film simply fails to connect (including another bland performance from Ewan McGregor), and moreover it falls in an uneasy territory between deadly serious drama and unadulterated pulp. It, like Davis’ music, aspires to be guided by feeling more than logic, only in the end it mostly registers as emotionally incomprehensible.