Alex Reviews "Devotion"
In a love letter to naval aviators with more than a small bit of homage to Top Gun, Devotion follows the based-on-true-life-events of Lieutenant Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) and Ensign Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors), the first African American pilot in the Navy. Opening with the two meeting on-base in New England, the story follows them throughout their journey to being two of the most celebrated wingmen of the Korean War era.
Majors is an absolute powerhouse who can do no wrong at this point with a performance that completely commanded my attention at all times showing range between settings that is simply impressive to witness, whether it calls for an icy loner or affectionate family man. Powell takes his second turn this year as a Naval Aviator after Top Gun: Maverick well, even getting Tom Cruise’s blessing on the double-dip as the cocky, best friend even if it is a bit of a shallow performance in the more emotional scenes and comes across as ridiculous and breaks the mystique of the moment itself.
You can tell how much this story means to director J.D. Dillard (Sleight) long before a personal item appears after the credits, though at times the execution is uneven. At times, Devotion is perfectly structured and crushes its intended visuals and emotions, but other times it gets very choppy. It may be unfair to put this on the director alone as there are multiple cuts that feel wonky which could be attributed to editing.
Beyond that, the delivery of the story does not resonate how I believe it should with beats that should be emotional receiving a confused look and even laughter from people in the screening I attended. I think this may be an example of a story that needed certain portions sacrificed in order to better delive, but select decision makers held too dear to certain chapters of the book and wanted to fit too much onto the screen.
All things considered, Devotion is a good film that is worth a watch whenever it hits cable or streaming, but the premium theater time would best be spent on other films, unless you really enjoy when movies cater to Cannes.