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The trailer to Miles Ahead opens with Don Cheadle's interpretation of Miles Davis making only one demand: "If you’re going to tell the story, come with some attitude, man." With the film's first trailer finally being released to the public, as seen below, it looks like Cheadle's directorial debut has attitude, and plenty to spare.
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly's recent exclusive, we've been granted an advanced look at the film that premiered during last year's festival circuit. Miles Ahead focuses its storytelling mostly on a period towards the end of Miles' "silent" period – which lasted between 1975 and 1980. The events of the film take place in 1979, in which Davis (Cheadle) and an unwelcome journalist (Ewan McGregor) have to team up in order to retrieve some session recordings that have fallen into the wrong hands. In other words, think of a caper film thrown into a blender with a more traditional music biopic.
Our own Gregory Wakeman saw the film last year, and his take on the more unconventional presentation of Miles Ahead was that the film was promising, if not a little too outlandish, to succeed as a straight biopic. We can definitely see shades of both in the trailer above, as Don Cheadle's performance as Miles Davis is as front and center as his newly unveiled director's chops. Every frame of this trailer is soaked in the grain of documentatrian film stock, lending an aged look of cinema verite to the film's events. That look, crossed with visuals that depict a fist fighting, gun toting Davis are part of a package that Cheadle says the man himself would have loved to had seen, or even played, in a movie.
While Miles Ahead feels like a film that missed out on some prime nominations for the 88th annual Academy Awards, its odds may be better for next year's ceremony – provided the buzz is strong enough from its theatrical release. Though considering the film's release date of April 1st, it'll have to not only strike up some killer nomination talk upon deployment, it'll have to keep itself fresh in the voting public's minds for the rest of the year. Of course, should Don Cheadle's passion project rake in a healthy load of cash during its theatrical run, that could certainly go a long way towards securing the film's golden status.
Mixing fact with fiction, much like mixing blockbuster and prestige storytelling, is a touchy balance. Yet with Miles Ahead looking to pack as much swagger and action as the man it's dedicated its story to, we can't help but feel that the balance has been struck – at least it has with this outstanding trailer. April 1st will be the day of judgment, as Miles Ahead launches into its big solo.