'Miles Ahead': Don Cheadle Turns in 'Virtuoso Performance'

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 9:09 PM

The legend introduces us to a chain-smoking, raspy-throated Davis, who sits down for an interview with Rolling Stone journalist Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor).

Don Cheadle turns in a virtuoso performance not only as the star of "Miles Ahead," but also as the director and co-writer of this non-linear, beautifully disjointed biopic of the late jazz great, composer and trumpeter Miles Davis.

The legend introduces us to a chain-smoking, raspy-throated Davis, who sits down for an interview with Rolling Stone journalist Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor). Davis chides Brill for what he perceives to be a feeble approach, encouraging him to, perhaps, embellish a bit. Davis takes over the interview, which serves as an entry point for Cheadle and friends to this story -- one that takes space during a time when Davis retreated from public life, stopped making music and focused on drugs and alcohol.

Davis and Brill embark on an adventure that involves a bent music producer and a certain promising youthful trumpet player. We obtain flashbacks within a flashback as we witness Davis’ courtship and marriage to ex-wife Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a world-renowned dancer who gave up her career for Miles. Corinealdi is a graceful force here who commands empathy.

Whether what we look unfurl actually happened is beside the point. "Miles Ahead" has the perceive of a jazz riff played to perceive as though it may have been improvised, as if Cheadle and co-writer Steve Baigelman made it up as they were going along, and still hit all the right notes.

Cheadle’s Davis is so genuine you can odor the cigarettes, booze and perspiration. His descent into drug abuse and alcoholism, coupled with his self-imposed exile from society and music, is his self-punishment for destroying the like he'd with Taylor.

In a career full of terrific performances, including his Oscar-nominated work in 2004’s "Hotel Rwanda," Cheadle gives us his best with "Miles Ahead."

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