It is hard to criticize a story that is based on a book when one has not read the book. However, for a book to have a film adaptation, one would hope the book is engaging and has promise. It is possible that screenwriters Jake Crane and Jonathan Stewart took parts of Adam Makos’ book to create Devotion . And when they did so, they unfortunately miss the mark by a wide margin. The performances certainly boast an emotional punch, albeit a withheld punch. They are truly the saving grace from this underdeveloped and questionably directed semi-biographical tale of Jesse Brown.
At this current moment in time, audiences have been exposed to a handful of some war films. And those films are the best looking ones within the medium. And those depictions come from a variety of directors and a variety of wars. Granted, Devotion takes place during one of many of the forgotten wars. Specifically, Devotion takes place in the early days of the Korean war. However, with the aforementioned other war pics, there truly is no reason that effects and cinematography to look anything but top tier. This is especially true when it comes to dogfights and battles on the front lines. The direction J.D Dillard takes makes the film look like someone playing Call of Duty.
It is an over animated mess that takes the realism completely out of the film and gives it a hyper-stylized notion. That would work if the entire film focused on the dog fights, the front lines, and so forth and not just a small portion of the film. This stylistic choice detracts from the film itself. It also removes you from almost any emotional support you have with the film or the characters themselves.
Devotion focuses on pilots being tasked to help the new NATO allies with the Korean War. But it mostly focuses on Jesse Brown played by Jonathan Majors and Tom Hudner played by Glen Powell. However, because it is 1950 racism is alive and well in America and Jesse Brown faces so much distain from some of the front linesmen and society. He gets this treatment despite putting his life on the line to protect them.
Devotion tries to build upon the relationship between Jesse and Tom. And anytime the movie tries to land its footing of their relationship it throws in a side of racism from another character in the movie. Due to Jesse’s passiveness about it and Tom’s want to stand up for his friend, it gets muddled and gives off some very unintentional white saviour vibes . This makes any connection between these characters even harder to understand and resonate with.
The movie tries to tell the story of Jesse Brown. While it certainly boasts his heroics and his time as a Navy fighter pilot, the overall creation of the story and execution lacks depth and passion. However, it is Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell who carry the show. They save the film from the muddled story telling and over stylized action that removes the audience from the film. Majors and Powell certainly mesh well together. And every time there is something that brings these real life characters together. It is evident their relationship is stronger than the movie lets the audience fully understand. Their chemistry is too hard to ignore. Devotion tries to take too many aspects from Brown’s life to fruition and thusly muddles the real life friendship between Brown and Hudner. And again, it uses stylization for war to create an unrealistic environment.
- Release Date: 11/22/2022