DATELINE: Biopic with Panache
Actor Don Cheadle has tackled Miles Davis like an actor who deserves an Oscar. Those who accuse Cheadle of a vanity project are wrong; it is in fact a legitimate serious and well-done biographical movie.
In his best Orson Welles togs, Don Cheadle writes, directs, produces, and stars, in a version of playing Orson Welles as Don Cheadle as Miles Davis. Move over, Citizen Kane.
Obviously the subject of Miles Davis means a great deal to Mr. Cheadle. And, happily he manages to convey the depth of his feeling as well as giving us insights into Davis himself. As one character calls him, Miles is the Howard Hughes of jazz. Of course, Davis would hate the term jazz. He preferred to call his music “social music.”
Focusing on one incident, an interview with a Rolling Stone writer (Ewan McGregor), the film manages to open up through the drug-induced hallucinations of Davis. He walks from present scenes to past and back.
The film catches him at the moment when he has been inactive and reclusive for five years. As a slice of life and a microcosm of his entire creative development, the use of this in incident is a powerful way to open up insights into Davis.
The film is loaded with the sounds of Miles Davis. That alone is worth your attention. The music is palpable. However, this is a film that will teach you a great deal about the temper and attitude of a great artist.
Miles Davis lived according to his own values and standards, whether the world appreciated it or not.
Cheadle has given us low mileage with high-octane, putting his movie miles ahead of competition. He deserves an Oscar for one of his roles in putting this movie to film.