Title: Miles Ahead

Director: Don Cheadle 

Starring: Don Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Ewan McGregor, Michael Stuhlbarg, Keith Stanfield and Austin Lyon.

The story of one of the most influential and innovative jazz musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis, lands on the silver screen. ‘Miles Ahead’ is the result of a script written by Don Cheadle (also directing and playing Miles Davis), with Steven Baigelman, focusing on the decline of a legend.

In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) virtually disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s. Alone and holed up in his home, he is beset by chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, his musical voice stifled and numbed by drugs and pain medications, his mind haunted by unsettling ghosts from the past.

A wily music reporter, Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) forces his way into Davis’ house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on a wild and sometimes harrowing adventure to recover a stolen tape of the musician’s latest compositions. Davis’ mercurial behaviour is fuelled by memories of his failed marriage to the talented and beautiful dancer Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi). During their romance and subsequent marriage, Frances served as Davis’ muse. It was during this period that he released several of his signature recordings including the groundbreaking “Sketches of Spain” and “Someday My Prince Will Come.”

Cheadle’s directorial debut is in line with the world outlook of the character he is portraying: the man who made “social music” arrives on the big screen, thanks to the social platform IndieGoGo, that raised the necessary funds for the completion of the film.

‘Miles Ahead’ truly plays like a piece of music, where the cast seems to jam the zeitgeist of Davis’ golden moments along with his downfall. Crescendo, diminuendo, forte, adagio, allegro, agitato. The moods that coalesce represent the systole and diastole of a music genius’ pulsing heart. Don Cheadle succeeds in making Miles Davis relive on film, through a powerful cinematic concerto, drenched with discordant harmony.

Technical: B-

Acting: B+

Story: B

Overall: B 

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Miles Ahead Movie Review
Photo Credit: Icon Film Distribution

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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