Directed by Don Cheadle
An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.
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★★★★ review by Dawson Joyce on Letterboxd
Slick, vibrant, and energetic, Don Cheadle's writing and directing debut Miles Ahead is an incredibly well-acted, beautifully shot, and impeccably edited biopic that captures the spirit and daring nature of its main subject with precision and nuance.
★★★★½ review by Martin28 on Letterboxd
Fragmented and experimental, Miles Ahead feels like a formal homage to everything Davis' music stood for. It does not adhere to a pregiven cinematic structure, it jumps around and it's edited like one long, improvised solo. It's unpredictable, stylish and Cheadle's performance might be one to beat come award season next year.
★★★½ review by James Haves on Letterboxd
If you have to ask, you're miles behind.
★★★★ review by Carol Grant on Letterboxd
A bludgeon to the face of most music biopics, Don Cheadle exhibits terrific talent at creating an audiovisual cacophony that's more reflective of Davis's music than a traditional biopic structure could, as he wafts between memory and fantasy with the kind of reckless abandon of, well, an improvisational jazz trumpeteer. That doesn't mean it doesn't occasionally snag into some music biopic cliches from time to time, but the direction (and Cheadle's terrific performance to boot) more than do enough to liven up even the cliches.
★★★½ review by ChristianBecker on Letterboxd
Got the opportunity to see this one at the 53rd New York Film Festival. Don Cheadle's directorial debut is an impressive one. Both in it's style and story structure. It could have been so easy to make this a typical musical biopic we've seen time and time again, but Cheadle focuses on specific point in Miles's life that helps hone in the focus. The way in which it shifts from past to present so abruptly feels rather jarring from time to time, though. Just as I was hooked on one time period, it would switch to another in the blink of an eye, which became a little annoying. The big takeaway from this soulful musical journey though are the performances. Don Cheadle really knocks it out of the park here and becomes Miles Davis. I didn't know much about this man going in, but I felt as though I spent a good two hours with this insane artist. Ewan McGregor also turns in a worthy performance as Dave Brill, a reporter who lies his way into Miles's life. His accent seemed inconsistent at times, but he matches the energy and commitment Cheadle is clearly brining. The two are a note-worthy paring.
It is a little lighter in tone than I assumed it would be going in. With there being no trailer, I really didn't know what to expect, but I figured there would be some tragic elements. While the subject matter is dark, it never brings you to that heartbreaking emotional place. Which doesn't seem to be the intent. The jazzy music and Miles's sense of humor drives the story to an upbeat place with a foot-tapping ending.
Miles Ahead is one to keep on your radar. It really is one of the better musical biopics to come out in quite sometime. While the editing and story structure could have used some work, the performances, humor and music drive this film to the finish line with a satisfying conclusion.
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