I’m a sucker for films about fighter pilots. There is always fascination with a film about combat in the skies. And the fascination with Devotion is increased because it’s based on a true story.
Devotion is set in the 1950s, during the Korean War. Jesse Brown (played by Jonathan Majors) is a Black fighter pilot. He is partnered with Tom Hudner (played by Glen Powell), and their commander is Dick Cevoli (played by Thomas Sadoski). Hudner is a top dog in the pilot ranks, and Brown initially questions his fighter pilot abilities. But Brown and Hudner become an ace team, and together they make Devotion a wild ride in the sky that should pick up some awards.
At first I thought Devotion was going to be a repeat of Top Gun: Maverick, especially because one of the leads played in both films. And some of the scenes are similar. But Devotion is a real story depicting real events, which sets it apart from Top Gun.
What also sets it apart is the politics of the time and, beyond politics, the overt racism. Both pilots question whether they can complete their missions in the sky, but Brown questions his abilities because of the color of his skin. As Hudner assures him he is strong and able, though, Brown begins to believe that he does really have what it takes.
The realism of Devotion had me feeling the emotional side of people risking their lives. But Brown being Black and Hudner being White creates much more stress. Regardless of their skin color, though, they are a team. Devotion is a faithful story about two people having each other’s back in difficult and dangerous situations.
Devotion is the best fighter pilot film I have seen in a long while. The performances of Majors and Powell is phenomenal. The sequences in the sky will make its viewers want to fasten their seat belts. It is truly a brilliant film. Four stars for Devotion.