DEVOTION is the film adaptation of the 2014 biographical book Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos. It’s directed by JD Dillard. The inspiring true story of Jesse Brown [Jonathan Majors], the first black aviator in US Navy history, and his lasting friendship with fellow fighter pilot Tom Hudner [Glen Powell]. Helping to turn the tide of the most brutal battle of the Korean War, their heroic sacrifices made them the Navy’s most famous wingmen.
Director JD Dillard effectively blends drama, action, and history from the Korean War, the forgotten war that we haven’t often had the opportunity to see depicted in cinema. The sets, cars, and planes reflect the fifties as well as the mentality of some people who are racist towards the main character. Racism still exists today, but it’s interesting how it affects Jesse Brown, the Navy’s first African-American airman. The visual effects are effective and the aerial scenes are beautifully planned. One scene in particular as enemy fire hits the planes places the viewer in the privacy of the cockpit. Unfortunately, the action scenes are too short and we have already seen better in other movies like Top Gun: Maverick which is hard to beat. Although this is a true story, I recommend not reading about the real people before seeing the film so as not to spoil the events of the story.
Glen Powell and Jonathan Majors have such good chemistry that we really believe in the bromance that develops between the two main protagonists. Glen Powell, who we saw in a similar role in Top Gun: Maverick, has an expanded role here and he delivers an excellent performance. Jonathan Majors needs to give a more emotional performance given the injustices his character has suffered. He does a great job too.