DRAMA; M, 1hr 41min
STARRING: Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor
Playing it cool: Cheadle
When "even the sky ain't the limit," as it was for genius jazzman Miles Davis (Cheadle), a five-year, self-imposed exile in which he has "nothing to say" is cruelly ironic. What the Miles of co-writer, director and star Cheadle's innovative spin does have to say, he says through the diminishment of exile and drugs. Cheadle unleashes him as a frowsy, tormented husk—a different animal entirely by the mid-1970s from the superlative operator of years gone by. He's disillusioned and angry, haunted by memories of his lost, loved wife, dancer Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi), and he doesn't appreciate (fictional) Rolling Stone writer Dave Braden (McGregor) showing up at his trashed yet fabulous New York residence. Dave is after a story. Gun-toting record company sharks are after comeback material. Everyone wants something from Miles, who himself just wants to get wasted in peace.
Cheadle is a polished director, looping deliriously through the high times and low of Miles's blazing burnout. And while the craziness of coke-ramped car chases and shoot-outs is a trippy blitz and a stretch of anyone's imagination, what does feel painfully authentic is isolation as a frame of mind.