Oh dear, oh dear. What a turkey.
But why is it so bad? Well where to begin: first, the Ewan McGregor Rolling Stone journalist is a poor caricature and remains corny despite all the coke-taking, pistol-popping attitude he seems to project, an accusation Miles, played by the director Don Cheadle who looks remarkably like Miles but is slightly gaunter, throws at him. Their buddy/anti-buddy dynamic is one that runs through the film from initial doorstep drama to gun-toting drug deal and is utterly, staggeringly, preposterous.
Second, the script is unimaginative, the characters never given a chance to develop, their motivation never really explained or sketched out properly, the only bright spot the nuanced performance by Emayatzy Corinealdi as Miles’ wife Frances Taylor who was on the cover of his 1961-released album Someday My Prince Will Come an LP copy of which Miles takes from the student coke dealer after short changing him and fobbing him off with autographed albums.
Flashing back to the Gil Evans days and forward to the cocaine-addled 1970s comeback period the film descends into inane chase scenes, the lost tape conceit simply ridiculous, the whole thing more like a switch-it-over quick sub-Miami Vice filler to while away the time before the pizza arrives. This film will never, surely, stand up with great jazz feature films such as Round Midnight, Bird, or Kansas City. It is like a skit from start to finish.
The merging of past and present at the end with ‘Miles’ performing beyond the grave with a septuagenarian Herbie and octogenarian Wayne from his second great quintet, Robert Glasper on keys, who wrote the soundtrack, Esperanza Spalding on bass guitar, Birdman composer Antonio Sánchez, drums, and the cool blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr is totally cringe-worthy, not the triumph intended at all.
In selected cinemas from Friday