It’s understood that subjectivity comes into play when both viewing and reviewing a movie. Having said that, I must offer a strongly contrary opinion to Ken Hanke’s five-star lauding of Miles Ahead (April 27) [“Cranky Hanke Reviews & Listings”].
A simple definition of biopic is a “biographic movie,” yet the overriding storyline in the period it claims to represent bears little resemblance to Miles Davis’ actual life. Miles had a fascinating and absorbing life on its own merit. Why would [Don] Cheadle feel compelled to, as Miles might put it, “just make sh*t up?” Why toss in a totally fictitious narrative about a stolen tape, bring in characters that never existed, and for the love of God mix in a ludicrous chase scene (talk about a clichéd cheap trick!) and shootout? Seriously — Davis staggers into a prize fight with a gunshot wound and punches out some guy?
Surely the biopics on Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, to choose two other iconic musicians, took some liberties with fact, but nothing like this debacle that looked more like “Shaft Meets Miami Vice” than a representation of reality. The most egregious falsehood was implying that some made-up 20-something junkie inspired Miles to return to music, when in fact it was his former wife Cicely Tyson who coaxed him out of his self-imposed years of drug-fueled darkness.
I’ll give credit to Cheadle for portraying Miles’ prickly demeanor quite well; Emayatzy Corinealdi was terrific as Frances Taylor; and the music closing the film was superb. But aside from that, this film, in my opinion, is a disgrace and insult to Miles Davis’ legacy as an artist.
— Eddie LeShure