Movies, Documentary, Drama

Miles Ahead

No Comments 13 February 2019

Miles Ahead

A couple of months ago, I watched the documentary on Jimi Hendrix Hear my Train Coming. Starting in his teenage years, Jimi was only interested in two things: his guitar and women with music clearly in first place. The film draws much on live performances where the genius of Hendrix becomes very clear. At the end of the film, we learn that the estate of Jimi Hendrix “commissioned” the documentary. Only then did it become clear that we are watching a sanitized version of Hendrix’s life. The man died from a drug overdose. But in an effort make Jimi appear as likable and charming as possible and increase for his estate sales from his music his death is portrayed more as an accident of someone how dabbled a bit in drugs. Miles Ahead takes a very different approach.

Even though it is not a documentary but a real motion picture, the film appears more honest in showing how Miles Davis really was. It picks out the worst part of his life when he had retired from music for five years and lived for taking cocaine. Miles is out of control, threatening people with guns and it is almost a miracle that someone did not kill him. In no way does the film attempt to narrate his entire life. There are some flashbacks to earlier music performances that led to his stardom and to his relationship with his first wife. He is portrayed as controlling and violent. Ultimately the wife leaves him. I think Don Cheatle picked out these horrible five years between 1975-1980 to make us appreciate even more how Davis even if all his faults and shortcomings are brought into the foreground still must be regarded as on the greatest musicians of the 20th century, miles ahead of others. He found back to music in 1980 and had another 11 productive years in his musical career.

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Peter

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