Miles Ahead is a 2015 American biographical film directed by Don Cheadle, which Cheadle co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson, based on the life of jazz musician Miles Davis. The film stars Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, and Ewan McGregor, and closed the New York Film Festival on October 11, 2015. The film takes its title from Davis’ 1957 album.
Cheadle took a free-form approach to the film’s narrative. Skipping around in time, it depicts Davis’ attempts to get his career back on track following a period of inactivity and drug addiction in the 1970s, his relationship with a journalist (played by McGregor) who wants to profile him, and his troubled marriage to a former dancer (Corinealdi). The film’s score covers, in non-linear fashion, Davis’ actual recordings throughout his career, beginning with Agharta (1975) before jumping back and forth in scenes featuring Kind of Blue (1959), “Someday My Prince Will Come” (1961), Bitches Brew (1970), and We Want Miles (1981), among others.
Miles Ahead received mostly positive reviews from critics. Reviewers generally praised Cheadle’s direction and performance, although some were critical of the plot. The film has grossed $2.8 million against a budget of $344,582.
In the midst of a prolific career, Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s. He lives in isolation while dealing with chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, a musical voice inhibited and numbed by drugs and painkillers, and traumatic memories of his past. A music reporter, Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor), forces his way into Davis’ house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on an adventure to recover a stolen tape recording of the musician’s most recent compositions.