The newish film Devotion, which my wife and I saw at the Spectrum 8 Theatre in Albany in early December, is based on a true story that was the subject of a bestselling book.
Elite US Navy fighter pilots were being trained in the early 1950s. One was a black man, Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors), training close enough in Rhode Island to occasionally visit his wife Daisy (Christina Jackson) and their cute daughter. Things during training seemed surprisingly uncomplicated. But Brown feels inner turmoil, understandable when one is The First/The Only.
One of the other pilots is starting to forge a friendship with Brown, Lieutenant Tom Hudner (Glenn Powell). The plot gets more interesting when some men are on shore leave in France. Much of it involved a Famous Movie Star and other US military folks who are less comfortable with a black wingman.
Ultimately, the airmen are deployed to the Korean conflict. The airmen, especially Brown, are very good at what they do. Ultimately, stuff happens, and if you’ve read the book or most reviews, you have an idea what.
Most reviews are correct, with 81% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic wrote, “It’s committed to the hallmarks of the genre, for better and for worse.” This is spot on.
It’s a good film, and I’m glad I saw it. It’s not extraordinary except for the very detailed use of the aircraft, some of which were borrowed from aeronautic museums. The look and the flying felt real.
Too much Devotion
Incidentally, I disliked the generic title devotion, which had been used as the titles of films in 1931, 1945, 1995, 2005, and 2013. The book title was Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos. Maybe Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice would have been less boring.
The 2022 Devotion was not a theatrical blockbuster, with less than $20 million in ticket sales, which is unfortunate.