Devotion, Comrades In The Fight Against A Mutual Enemy During World War Two

Devotion is a 2022 American biographical war film based on the 2014 book Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos.

Which retells the comradeship between naval officers Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner during the Korean War. It is directed by J. D. Dillard and written by Jake Crane and Jonathan Stewart. 

The film stars Jonathan Majors as Brown and Glen Powell as Hudner, with Christina Jackson, Joe Jonas, Nick Hargrove, Spencer Neville, Thomas Sadoski, and Daren Kagasoff in supporting roles.

Devotion premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in IMAX at the Ontario Place Cinesphere on September 12, 2022, and is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on November 23, 2022. It received generally positive reviews from critics.

The true story revolves around elite fighter pilots Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner, who became the U.S. Navy’s most celebrated wingmen during the Korean War.

The cast includes Jonathan Majors as Jesse Brown, Glen Powell as Tom Hudner, Christina Jackson as Daisy Brown, Joe Jonas as Marty Goode, Thomas Sadoski as Dick Cevoli, Serinda Swan as Elizabeth Taylor, Daren Kagasoff as Bill Koenig, Nick Hargrove as Carol Mohring, Spencer Neville as Bo Lavery, Armin Conrad G. Sayson as Chinaman and Ali Asghar Shah as Shah.

Making it Happen

In March 2018, Black Label Media optioned the rights to Devotion on Glen Powell’s recommendation, coming aboard as a producer and commitment to play Tom Hudner. In December 2019, it was announced that Jonathan Majors was cast as Jesse Brown, and J. D. Dillard was set to direct. 

In September 2020, it was announced that Sony Pictures would distribute in the United States, while STXinternational would handle international sales. In February 2021, Serinda Swan was cast as Elizabeth Taylor.

Dillard felt a close personal connection to the subject as the son of a naval aviator himself, relied on stories related by his father as the lone black man in a predominantly white aviation community. In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, he said, “Both technically and socially, they both dealt with isolation and there are so many pieces there that I think ultimately just became the DNA of the film.” Dillard’s father also visited the set and served as a technical advisor for the film. His contribution to the film is recognized by a separate card in the end credits.

Powell, who read Adam Makos’ book when it first came out in 2014, brought it to Molly Smith of Black Label to option and went to visit Thomas J. Hudner Jr. shortly before he died in 2017. He was struck by the photographs and mementos of Jesse Brown around the house, remarking, “I saw what weight that was on him. It wasn’t a celebration, it was a constant reminder of a friend he lost and I carried that weight into this role.”

Principal photography began on February 4, 2021, in Savannah, Georgia. Filming also took place in Charleston, South Carolina, Wenatchee, Washington, and Statesboro, Georgia, and from March 17 to April 13, 2021, at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport.

Dillard was determined to create practical effects using real aircraft as much as possible, including several F4U Corsairs, an AD Skyraider, two F8F Bearcat fighters, one of the only remaining flyable HO5S-1 helicopters, and a MiG-15. Dillard hired aerial stunt coordinator Kevin LaRosa, who created the flight sequences for Top Gun: Maverick. A modified L-39 Albatros trainer was used as an air-to-air camera platform. Interior footage of actors flying the Bearcat was created using a Hawker Sea Fury with its rear seat modified to resemble a Bearcat cockpit and visible parts of the aircraft painted like a VF-32 Bearcat, allowing actors to simulate piloting the aircraft during actual aerial maneuvers.[


The World Premiere

Devotion had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in IMAX at the Ontario Place Cinesphere on September 12, 2022, and also as the opening night film of Film Fest 919 on October 19, 2022. It had its U.S. premiere at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival on October 22, 2022. 

It was theatrically released on November 23, 2022. It was originally scheduled to be released in limited theaters on October 14, 2022, followed by the wide expansion on October 28, 2022

The Box office Reception

In the United States and Canada, Devotion was released alongside Strange World and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, as well as the wide expansions of The Fabelmans and Bones and All, and is projected to gross around $7–8 million from 3,400 theaters over its five-day opening weekend. The film made $615,000 from Tuesday night previews.[

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 78% of 59 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The website’s critics’ consensus reads, “Honoring real-life history while delivering impactful drama, Devotion is a straightforward biopic elevated by standout performances from a talented cast.” Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 66 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.

Matthew Creith from Screen Rant wrote “Stylized and cultured, Devotion soars when least expected and is brought to life by its talented ensemble cast led by Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell.”

The Trailer

Check it out at the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9, 2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, New York 10027, AMC.com/Harlem,

Photo credit: 1) 2) Official U.S. Navy Photograph, Public Domain / 2 Naval Historical Center Online Library, Public Domain. 3) Youtube.

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