Don Cheadle makes an impressive directorial debut with Miles Ahead, a crazy biopic that is mostly fiction—but all fun.
Cheadle plays jazz-trumpeter Miles Davis, hibernating from public life in the late ’70s, when a Rolling Stone reporter (Ewan McGregor) shows up at his door looking for a comeback story. The film then turns into a comedy thriller of sorts as Davis tries to track down a missing tape from his latest sessions—something that never really happened. It’s all just an excuse to use Miles Davis in a goofy story, and somehow, it all works.
Cheadle is pure awesome as Davis, even doing some impressive trumpet-miming. (Cheadle, like Ethan Hawke in the recent Chet Baker biopic Born to Be Blue, learned how to play trumpet for the part.)
The film switches between Miles in the ’70s and Miles in the ’60s dealing with relationship struggles. No, the movie doesn’t really focus much on the actual music. It’s more of a weird trip inspired by the music.
Michael Stuhlbarg is good as a shady record producer, and McGregor has a lot of fun as the shifty reporter who will do anything for a scoop.
Cheadle has made a good-looking, and good-sounding, movie to go with his strong performance. It’s not going to win any awards for accuracy, but it’s a fun movie with a Cheadle performance well worth any music-lover’s time.
Miles Ahead opens Friday, April 22, at the Regal Palm Springs Stadium 9 (789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 844-462-7342); the Cinémas Palme D’Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0730); and the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage;844-462-7342).