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TIFF 2022 Review: Devotion

Rising through the ranks of U.S. Navy fighter pilots is Jesse Brown who was the first African-American aviator to graduate from the basic flight training program and partook in the Korean War.

Newly recruited U.S. Navy aviator Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) is partnered with Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) who motivates himself by writing down every racial taunt directed towards him.  The comradery is put to the test through obstacles present in the air or on land whether it be at home or the battlefield.  The true test occurs when all of training gives away to a real world conflict known as the Korean War.

Check out all of our TIFF coverage

It is hard not to snicker when Glen Powell first appears with a leather jacket and sunglasses as you could image this being a homage to Top Gun which oddly enough had a sequel with the actor being a member of the cast.  Jonathan Majors also has some significant star power but this is really a movie that goes for less familiar faces than A-list performers like Tom Cruise; in truth, that would have been too distracting.

A nice transition has Jesse Brown talking directly to the camera and slowly pans around to reveal him speaking to his mirror reflection.  The aerial photography soars in the IMAX format and it is nice to have a commanding officer portrayed by Thomas Sadoski who is not there to be a nemesis but is a solid rock of support.  Cannot help but feel that there is a paint-by-numbers plot unfolding and perhaps it lies in the cast trying to be too earnest and profound in their performances rather than being in the moment.  Sure, tears will be shed and the ending avoids the Hollywood cliché, but one cannot escape the fact that you are watching a movie.

The 47th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8-18, 2022, and for more information visit tiff.net.    

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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