Review: Miles Ahead, C+
Rated R, 100 minutes
Legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis is profiled in the superbly acted but uneven bio "Miles Ahead," co-written, produced, directed and starring Don Cheadle ("Oceans Eleven") as the famed but troubled jazz musician. In the 1970s, down-and-out jazz trumpeter Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) tries to recover his new session tape from music producers, with the help of a Rolling Stone writer (Ewan McGregor). "Miles Ahead" may be worth a look for jazz aficionados, yet even they will notice that there's not enough of Davis' music in the film, instead it's a plodding, rather sluggish tale about recovering some lost session tapes that sheds little light into Davis or the inspiration for his music. The movie focuses on a rather dark period of Davis' life, with occasional flashbacks to tell how he met his first wife Frances Taylor (the lovely Emayatzy Corinealdi, underused here) and how he influenced a young musician named Herbie Hancock (Theron Brown); we also know that Davis had issues with substance abuse and marital discord, but those are largely skimmed over as well as it follows Davis and the reporter on the hunt for the lost tapes. Cheadle is excellent as Davis in an inspired part, much better than his script or bland direction, and if anything I'd give him a gold star for certainly trying hard here, even if the end result is much less satisfying than any of Davis' music. Speaking of which, the real treat is staying over for the credits, and seeing Cheadle, the actual Hancock and others as they play some tunes.