Miles Ahead

It would be stretching the truth like a rubber band to call this a biopic about jazz legend Miles Davis, as co-writer-director-star Don Cheadle has chosen to create a wholly impressionistic vision of the man, guaranteed to upset purists. Here, he is a gun-toting horn player who shoots up his producer’s office and finds himself on the wrong end of a car chase, even the wrong end of his apartment as a hustler-writer (Ewan McGregor) who claims he is on assignment for Rolling Stone Magazine locks him out of his own digs. Lest you think guns and car chases are going to turn this into a sham, be reassured. The battle between the artist and the moneymen is over a session tape recorded during Davis’s dormant creative years, but that is merely a vehicle for the excitement. There is not a moment here that flags, and Davis is shown with all his warts and whacked-out way of somehow surviving in his Wonderland. This is a rare movie, one of the best of 2016, so creatively edited that it sets a new standard. Cheadle morphs into the title role to lead an exemplary cast, illuminated by Emayatzy Corinealdi as Davis’s first wife Frances Taylor. We expect him to be nominated for Best Actor and maybe even Best Director, Corinealdi for Best Supporting Actress, and the film for Best Picture.

– Mal Karman

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