Being from St. Louis, Missouri, my hometown is always confused with East St. Louis, which is actually in Illinois. Annoying, but true. However, one of its most famous residents other than the legendary Katherine Dunham is jazz musician Miles Davis.
Often referred to as the “Howard Hughes of Jazz”, Miles Davis was a very complex human being, so it was only fitting that Don Cheadle would write, produce, star and direct in an artistic bio pic as complex and non-linear as Davis himself.
Miles Ahead is not your usual bio pic. As a matter of fact, the film basically chronicles and focuses on three things…his love for Frances Taylor, the stealing of his masters from his home and his much documented drug addiction.
“When you are creating your own shit man…even the sky’s the limit” – Miles Davis
The soundtrack enhances the chaotic, paranoid, aggressive, angry existence that Miles is living during a period in which he didn’t release a single album from 1974-1979.
Cheadle said, “he wanted to “do” Miles rather than explain who he was”. His use of cinematic transitions were fantastic, in addition to using the script to convey what Davis has lost…his music, his mojo and his woman. His woman, Frances Taylor, who introduces herself as “the one that got away” is stunningly portrayed by Emayatzy Corinealdi. From the moment she hits the screen, you just know that she is force to reckoned with. It takes a brilliantly gifted actor to convey an array of complex emotions without uttering a single word and Corinealdi is a master at this in only her second feature film.
At a Q&A afterwards, Cheadle addressed the #OscarsSoWhite topic simply by saying “It’s about diversity and inclusion at the earliest parts o this industry and that the criteria is subjective as to who gets a nomination”. He then shared a story of being on the Oscar Red Carpet after being nominated for “Devil In A Blue Dress”, sandwiched between Jack Nicholson and Cher and a reporting yelling at him to get out-of-the-way. All of this after paying $500@pop and have seats stuck behind a podium.
MILES AHEAD is in theaters TODAY!!! Check out this interview we did on the red carpet of the Pan African Film Festival a few months ago.