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Film Review: “Miles Ahead” (2015) ★★★★


We all know that talented people always have a strange way of living their lives. Some of them live a long and successful one. Some of them, due to their health issues or troubles with drug abuse, lose their lives way too soon.

Miles Davis was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He also might have had the same issues I had mentioned above. But that means nothing when you spend your life to create beautiful jazz music that will live longer that any bad reputation being created around you. “Miles Ahead” is a tasteful and elegant biopic which captures Miles Davis’ life from 1945 to 1970s. But mainly he’s shown as a “gangster” rather than a beloved jazz musician.

It begins with Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) giving an interview to a Rolling Stone journalist, Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor). As he continues answering to Brill’s questions, you will be taken back to the time when Brill and Davis met each other for the first time. Despite that not being one of the best acquaintances you have ever seen, however, this will turn into a unique friendship you will certainly get a chance to admire.

Brill after surviving Davis’ attacks drives Miles to the studio where he requested from his manager to stop sending him journalists for his “comeback story”. After verbal debate, Miles takes his gun and shoots at the owner of the music record studio, but intentionally misses his shot. Harper Hamilton (Michael Stuhlbarg) appears for you as a life-saver, when he interferes, and more importantly, manages to calm down an uncontrollable temper of the famous musician. But soon, it will be him who triggers an unprecedented situation when Davis and Brill have to get armed in order to protect Davis’ extremely valuable records.

But that’s not the only thing the co-writer/filmmaker/actor Don Cheadle invites you to see in his ambitious directorial debut film. You will also get a chance to find out more about Davis’ relationship with his wife, Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi) and how the seemingly happy marriage shapes Davis’ future.

It is quite difficult to imagine what kind of film we could get if not for Cheadle’s thoughtful and poignant portrayal of Miles Davis. Cheadle, well directs himself, getting into the skin of the jazz musician the way you will find difficult to recognize him. Ewan McGregor as Dave Brill is hilarious, even though it was not a funny character. It’s just McGregor, who portrays a journalist gives his own perspective of a man, who had many intentions to appear in front of Miles Davis’ house.

In conclusion, “Miles Ahead” has an interesting and very risky concept which worked brilliantly in skilful hands of Cheadle. It’s of course intriguing to see Miles Davis as a fearless man who can chase down anyone he wishes, however, it is his music that will delight your ears throughout the film. Right from the beginning, Cheadle’s film gets his voice which is louder than you can imagine. It not only breathes life into Miles Davis, it turns him into an immortal man, which as a great musician is well deserved.

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