Miles Ahead

Cinema as jazz composition

Writer/producer/director/star Don Cheadle’s daring biopic about the late jazz great Miles Davis works better than most obvious pet projects for a couple of reasons. Up front, a lot of this is made up. (There’s a car chase!) But it’s a character sketch rather than an in-depth biography, and it somehow gets the themes right. The initially irritating scattershot editing makes sense when you realize that Cheadle has constructed his film in the freewheeling style of one of the legendary musician’s impressionistic compositions. The icing on the cake is Cheadle’s layered and complex performance in the lead. (100 min)