There haven’t been a lot of films about the Korean War. Devotion is one of the few I can remember. Mash and Heartbreak Ridge are a couple that I can recall. The Korean War is known as the forgotten war because people remember the two world wars, the civil war, the revolutionary war, and the Vietnam war. The Korean War didn’t last very long. This film depicts events during that war and focuses on an elite group of Naval pilots. Who are very inspirational. It’s based on the book by Adam Makos.
Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) is a Naval fighter pilot stationed in Rhode Island. He flies small planes which he is very adept at. When a new lieutenant Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) is added to his group they start to become friends. When their leader introduces them to a new jet to fly, they have to train and learn faster about this plane because they are on the brink of a war in Korea with the Chinese.
JD Dillard, the director, and cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt were all to create a great look for the film using the flying scenes and dog fighting scenes. All the scenes in the sky were just amazing and I felt like I was in the cockpit with the various pilots in the planes. A scene near the beginning was especially rewarding. When Majors character was flying around the coast of Rhode Island. Even the scenes over Korea were impeccably done. These scenes were the meat and potatoes of the movies.
The cast of this movie wasn’t that impressive with a few of the guys including Joe Jones that look very similar but the standouts are Majors as this man who has gone through a lot to get to this point in his career and Powell who is a man who is trying to understand this other man and his place in the squad. He comes to realize that Majors character is a man that has a lot to prove because of what he has been through in the past. One scene involves him explaining how he had to do his swimming qualifications over and over again because his drill sergeants didn’t believe he could actually swim. This was brutal to listen to.
This film took place in an era in the country where it wasn’t easy for Blacks to get good jobs so the military was one of the only options for them. Majors character’s dream was always to be a fighter pilot. Even then he still didn’t get respect from people around the world, his fellow Navy members, and others. It wasn’t until something bad had happened to him that he and his family got the respect that they deserve. The disrespect has never gone away and this country still hasn’t been able to get away from the bad treatment of Blacks.
Devotion was a good film that told a story I wasn’t familiar with before watching the movie. The director Dillard and the cinematographer Messerschmidt were able to capture the deal of actually fighting in the sky. The flying scenes were very well done. All these scenes are great but they wouldn’t work without the performances from Majors and Powell. They anker this story with a true friendship and how one has to learn to respect the other and his family. He was just like everybody else in that regard he just had a different skin color. This film is very emotional at times and this relationship is the heart and soul of this movie. It is a story that needed to be told and seen this holiday season.
Dan Skip Allen