6/10 The true story of Jesse Brown, the first black aviator in US Navy history, “Devotion” is like a fighter pilot’s flight in the sense that it has its ups and downs and despite not being the best ride ever, it gets you where you need to go. I will start off with what doesn’t work before ending on a positive note. Co-lead Glen Powell plays Tom Hudner and if Powell looks familiar in the cockpit of a fighter jet, it might be because he also played a role in 2022’s blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick”. Despite the differences between the two films with one being fictional and one being a true story as well as one taking place in modern day and the other in the past, comparisons between the two were bound to happen due to subject matter and Powell as the common thread. Due to “Top Gun: Maverick” (8.5/10) being one of the best films of 2022, such a pleasant surprise and helped to revive struggling movie theaters, “Devotion” can’t help but ill in comparison, even if “Devotion” is still decent. Another big problem is that the film covers familiar territory in terms of its issues with race and how Brown was discriminated against due to the color of his skin. Everything from “Miracle at St. Anna” to “Red Tails” to the best of the bunch, “Glory”, have all tackled similar subject matter so this film isn’t breaking down any barriers. For an almost two an a half hour long film, there is not nearly as much action or dog fights as there should have been. I have no problem with the film focusing on characters and plot but some action to spice things up in between more dramatic scenes could have served the film well. Brown’s wife Daisy (Christina Jackson) didn’t have much to do outside of being the wife character and her moment at the end of the film felt a little disingenuous. While it was meant to show how strong she was, it made her seem cold hearted if anything. Finally, while the score throughout the film was fine but forgettable, a scene near the beginning where Hudner and Brown are flying together for the first time felt so overpowering and became a distraction. As for what works, the acting is solid across the board but Jonathan Majors as Brown was easily the highlight of the film when it came to performances and while I have only seen him in smaller roles prior to this, it gets me excited for some of his upcoming work like “Creed III” and his villainous turn as Kang in upcoming Marvel movies. Powell and Majors have solid chemistry and their complicated back and forth relationship worked well. The Korean War is rarely depicted on the big screen, despite being one of the most brutal, horrific wars the infantry could fight in (they didn’t call it the “Frozen Chosin” for nothing) and I myself as a Marine learned a decent amount about the war when I was active duty so to see a glimpse of it was welcomed, despite the hardships. The cinematography was strong, particularly during the aerial combat scenes, allowing you to see what was going on clearly instead of some garbage shaky cam mixed with quick cut editing. I was happy that the cinematographer didn’t have ADHD. The strongest element of the film was definitely the emotional moments. A film that involves war time, separated loved ones, discrimination/racism, fighting for survival, brotherhood, etc. was bound to get emotional but director J.D. Dillard handled that content well. Overall it won’t blow you away or be anything you haven’t seen before but Brown’s story is a fascinating, historic and heart breaking one that deserves to be told. It is too bad this film bombed at the box office and remains in the shadows of “Top Gun: Maverick” but if you are into history or war films, this is worth streaming once it becomes available on streaming platforms.

#JesseBlack / #FlyingMissDaisy / #EnsignMajors / #MajorPlane / #TopGunCatholic / #EverybodyWantsSome!!2

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