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Miles Ahead review: Perfect pitch for jazz movie

By Staff Reporter

Published 22/04/2016

Don Cheadle as Miles Davis with Ewan McGregor in Miles Ahead
Don Cheadle as Miles Davis with Ewan McGregor in Miles Ahead

Living alone in a chemically induced stupor, jazz musician Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) is haunted by memories of the breakdown of his marriage to muse and dancer Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi) some years before.

Also hounding him are demands from his record label, who are desperate to bring the world another recording.

When the wily - and fictional - Rolling Stones journalist Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) forces his way into Davis' house to get the scoop on a rumoured tape of his latest compositions, the mercurial musician is seething and angrily accompanies him to the record label which, according to Braden, arranged the chat.

There they meet unscrupulous music executive Harper Hamilton (Michael Stuhlbarg), who sneakily gets his mitts on the recording. Hamilton is hell-bent on delivering a new Miles Davis record to his fans and, in doing so, netting a handsome profit for the company.

He's also eager to secure Miles' support for his new jazz wonderkid Junior (Lakeith Lee Stanfield), which would also create a healthy and lucrative buzz around him. Miles couldn't give a fiddle about sales and ingenues and stops at nothing to take back what is his, taking Dave with him to write up his adventure.

The distance and cold resentment - though there are occasional flashes of camaraderie - between Miles and Dave adds a pitch-perfect humour to the already whip-smart script.

Four stars

Belfast Telegraph

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