J. D. Dillard
Starring Jonathan Majors, Glen Powell, Christina Jackson, Thomas Sadoski, Daren Kagasoff
With a year that’s set to see Jonathan Majors become a household name through the MCU, we get to witness him in a character driven true story as Jesse Brown, one of the US Navy’s most celebrated wingmen.
Set in the 1950’s, Jesse Brown is a family man, set to play his part in the Korean War. Over the course of this story, he meets and befriends Thomas J. Hudner Jr. (Glen Powell) who fights against his and his colleagues prejudices to see the bravery and talent of Jesse.
It would be easy to compare this to Tom Cruise’s juggernaut blockbuster but it’s exploring issues and territory that is far removed from Maverick’s escapades. The cinematographers, Jeffrey L. Kimball and Rick Fichter, interestingly did work on the original Top Gun and they do a marvellous job here. The flight sequences are beautiful and believable, while the landscapes and character driven scenes are treated with equal care.
Although the flight sequences are great, there isn’t a lot of them. This is a character study more than an action film. It’s refreshing to see less focus on the fighting, but the lengthy runtime meant that it dragged a little in the middle third.
Through the focus on character, it is Jonathan Majors that is the biggest presence in this movie. A moment where he talks directly into the camera, as if talking to a mirror, is particularly arresting as he repeats all of the racial slurs Jesse’s heard while reaching the heights of his career. While Glen Powell does a great job, it’s Majors who truly shines.
A solid historical drama, Devotion has all of the pieces to make a memorable movie but doesn’t quite reach the heights it’s aiming for.
Devotion available now on Amazon Prime Video