Miles Ahead (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Don Cheadle
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: 100 minutes

Miles Ahead (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

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Good: Lots of bonus content
Bad: The focus is not on Davis' music
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Miles Davis is one of the most known jazz trumpet players of his time. however, while we were already familiar with his music, we never cared to look into his life story. While Miles Ahead doesn’t give a completely truthful representation of Davis’ life, it does give you an idea of how the man used to live. Great musician yet troubled soul, we can’t help but notice we’ve heard that before.

Miles Ahead

It’s the end of the 1970s when Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) decides to live a life out of the spotlight, without music. People still love what he did, and many would love for him to make a comeback. Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem like he is about to come back at all. One day, a journalist from Rolling Stone Magazine called Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) stands at his front door asking for an interview. With a punch in his face, Davis makes it quite clear what he thinks about the matter, but Braden manages to get inside anyway.

Eventually, the two men get talking and it turns out that Braden is working for Columbia, Davis’ record company, as they heard about him having a tape with new music he recorded. Since he is still under contract, the music belongs to them, but Davis is not that easy to give up on it. When he comes back home with Braden, after throwing a tantrum at Columbia Records, he finds that one of his friends has a party at his house. He withdraws to the basement, where he and Braden indulge on booze and drugs. The next morning though, the much desired tape is gone and he and Braden do all they can to try and retrieve it.

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Next to this storyline, there is also the story behind Miles Davis, told using flashbacks. Most of it revolves around his relationship with Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a beautiful dancer who eventually became his wife. They had a turbulent marriage, also due to Davis’ lifestyle of women and drugs. He often thinks back about the time he had with her though, and still doesn’t seem to have accepted that their life together is over.

As far as the flow of the movie is concerned, it moves at quite a fast pace. The flashbacks keep the picture from getting dull, as they provide a better picture of the man we see in the 1970s. Here there is room for his romantic life to be told, and also his music comes a little bit more to the foreground. The story is definitely interesting enough as is, however it feels a bit like a lost opportunity to look more into his musical career, rather than almost solely focusing on his personal life. Lovers of Davis’ music get a bit left in the cold, as his music is certainly not the main focus, and the members of his quintet hardly even get mentioned. Adding in the fact that the storyline with Braden is fictional, we were left wondering what exactly was the purpose of making this film. Nonetheless, the story you get to see is well built up and entertaining, if you can put aside the issues we just mentioned, that is.

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Don Cheadle is director of this film, yet he also plays the part of Miles Davis himself. He certainly puts down a good performance, and even in the shots where he plays the trumpet, he manages to playback quite convincingly. Emayatzy Corinealdi was well cast as Davis’ beautiful wife, and also about Ewan McGregor we can’t say anything bad when it comes to this movie, other than that his haircut just really didn’t suit him.

The bonus material on this release includes an audio commentary with Don Cheadle and writer Steven Baigelman, but what’s probably more interesting is the extra info you get on how Don Cheadle approached the character of Miles Davis. Also a Sundance Film Festival Q&A  was included, as well as the standard extras you’ll find on nearly every film release. The extras are quite extensive and original, granting you a good amount of additional content.


Miles Ahead tells an interesting story about the life of Miles Davis, be it not his actual biography. If you were looking to find out a bit more about his music and his career, you will be disappointed. If you’re just looking for a nice film with a good flow and a good story, than this one might suit you. Either way the acting is pretty enjoyable to watch, and there are some decent extras in case you can’t get enough of the film.

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Miles Ahead (Blu-ray) - Movie Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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