Director: Don Cheadle
Accomplished actor and director Don Cheadle resorted to crowd funding to get this movie done. and he had to introduce a white movie star Ewan McGregor to make it more commercially viable. It’s a biopic, which chops between scenes of Miles in the cool era to his drug fuelled recluse years in the 70’s before he returned with that wild fusion stuff.
I know a lot about Miles, got the records,seen him, read books, so I wasn’t overly fussed that this wasn’t a documentary. What interested me was that Cheadle co wrote some of the music and was sufficiently devoted to playing the role that his chops were raised to a level to be credible.
There are a few themes – Miles’ relationship with Frances Taylor (who is credited as an executive producer) and his remorse for this lost relationship – although never discussed the continuing pain of Miles’ degenerative hip condition and then there is the overt plot -Drugs / Miles wants record company money>”give us some new stuff” > reel of “new stuff gets stolen> guns car chases etc to retrieve it – the ripping yarn bit.
I really enjoyed those parts where “Miles” is talking about creating music – or talking with “Gil” in the studio. I’m not a musician and am in awe of those who can create it and comprehend the concepts that go to making path-breaking stuff.
There is plenty of his stuff played and not just Kind of Blue -Agharta gets a run as does We Want Miles. I was interesting that “Miles” says “he missed it” with Kind Of Blue and that Sketches was the one. KOB is, of course, wonderful but I’m with him in preferring Sketches. Don’t know if the observations in the film are quotes from Miles. I assume they are.
When he returns to the stage playing his new “social music” on stage are contemporary Herbie and Wayne , Gary Clark jr is on a jazz guitar and Esperanza Spalding on bass- nice touch
The film cost less than $400k to make and on Wikipedia had grossed over $2m so hopefully those crowdfunders got their money back.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
the music of Miles Davis, aren’t too fussed by biopics over documentaries and are intrigued by one of the most interesting , remarkable and unique characters in the history of music.