Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Miles Ahead - Don Cheadle's Miles Davis biopic movie

We're back in Hailsham for three weeks at our usual
campsite here catching up with friends and Dave's getting to play some tennis which is great. Looking around at what's on locally we got lucky with an art-house type film showing at our old favourite cinema, Hailsham Pavilion, yesterday. Don Cheadle was long ago chosen by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis' family as their favourite to play the legend onscreen and the resultant film, Miles Ahead, is finally doing the rounds of cinemas. I learned by reading up on its background that getting the whole production together was quite the labour of love for Cheadle. Not only the film's star and director, he was also heavily involved in its writing and financing, even going so far as crowdfunding in Indiegogo.

Miles Ahead begins in 1970s New York where a reclusive Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) hasn't worked for five years, choosing to remain secluded in his mess of an apartment instead. A heavy drinker and drug taker, he is coerced by Rolling Stone journalist Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor) into being interviewed. Instead of speaking however Davis begins to play and the resultant music morphs into a film that is part truth and part fiction. The tag line is 'His story - with a little improvisation'. I'm not a Miles Davis aficionado by any stretch, but I'd say there's actually a lot of improvisation! I really enjoyed the film though.

Like our last cinema film, Carol, Miles Ahead looks fantastic. It jumps from the 1970s to the 1940s and back with wonderfully evocative sets and costumes. I love the long coats and am quietly hoping they come back into fashion on the back of this film! Emayatzy Corinealdi is great as the dancer Frances Taylor who became Davis' wife. Miles Ahead is far more about impression and atmosphere than true reportage and I thought it achieved its aims beautifully in that sense. I accept that the main plotline of the stolen music probably never happened and I don't think Davis did ever run around waving guns - maybe I'm wrong, there was a lot of coke - but I feel I do now have a stronger sense of him as a man as well as a dedicated musician.

Miles Ahead will be released on DVD in the UK on December 31st and is available for pre-order now.

The film soundtrack is available for download now as is the original Miles Davis album which gave its name to the film.

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