Devotion is the true story of an enduring friendship between two naval officers during the Korean War. The year is 1950, and there is a brief lull between the end of World War II and the start of the Korean War, and Lt. Tom Hudner has been assigned to Strike Fighter 32 where he meets Ensign Jesse Brown. Stationed in a sleepy little town in Rhode Island, the Fighting 32 soon finds themselves shipping out on a routine carrier tour of Europe that rapidly has them in the middle of the Korean War – something that has sadly become known as the Forgotten War.
I’m not going to sugar coat it – Devotion is an absolutely incredible movie that is occasionally very hard to watch. Jesse Brown, being a black aviator in the 50s, suffers injustice after injustice. Even within his squadron, he’s often an outsider. Devotion tells the story of how he not only overcomes the adversities that stand in his way, but comes to earn the respect of even his most ardent of detractors.
The movie hit theaters in November of 2022, and frankly I missed it. I was down with COVID and despite how much I love period pieces it just wasn’t happening. After watching it in 4K at home, I sincerely wish I could have seen this in the theater. To say that it’ll put every aspect of your audio gear to the test is a massive understatement. The movie is encoded in 5.1 DTS-HD, and you feel every bit of it with the growl of the Corsair planes present in nearly half of the movie. As they roar to life, you’ll find out if you got what you paid for as cheap speakers are going to peak out.
Also available is a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital option, as well as an English Audio Descriptive track. I’m surprised that there isn’t a 7.1 surround sound option, but given how absolutely incredible the 5.1 mix is, I’m not sure it’s needed. The highs and lows are incredibly clear, the dialogue is crisp and well balanced throughout, and every speaker in your arsenal will be getting a workout. Your subwoofer, or two if you’ve got a X.2 setup, will be waking up the neighbors. The audio in this film is flawless, and easily a great reference for anyone wanting to test out a new home audio setup.
Transitioning to video, this is an absolutely gorgeous film with an excellent transfer. Encoded in H.265 HEVC at 4K resolution and with an aspect ratio of 2.20:1, this movie looks absolutely phenomenal. HDR10 and Dolby Vision makes the color absolutely pop – something that shines through beautifully during any of the flight sequences. There are some dark scenes, especially at the beginning and end of the movie that showcase the dark inky blackness mixed with some beautiful blue tones.
Some of my favorite scenes in the film, from a cinematic perspective, take place in the tight confines of the aircraft carrier. Watching the team run readiness drills as they rapidly navigate the incredibly tight corridors conveys a level of claustrophobia that will stick with you. One slip as they ran through the bulkheads could mean a trip to the ship’s medic.
Shooting black skin on film is down to excellent camera and lighting, and director J. D. Dillard, an African American man himself, understands that. As such, Jonathan Majors looks fantastic on film, even during the more challenging darker scenes. Similarly, the color reproduction on Glen Powell and the rest of the team is fantastic, as are the explosive action scenes.
There is a moment in the movie where J.D. Dillard focuses tight on Jonathan Majors as he looks deep into a mirror. It’s an absolutely brutal scene to watch, and frankly it’s going to stick with me for a while, but Dillard pulls off a magic trick with the camera, swinging it around at the end of the scene. It’s flawlessly done, and I’d love to know how it was done. This scene could easily be a character study in heart wrenching well-written scripts, but it’s also a masterful showcase of incredible camera work.
There is one area where Devotion falls short – the extras. The only extra on the film is entitled “The Aviation of a Forgotten War”, clocking in at 11 minutes and 17 seconds, and covering some of the work necessary to bring the movie to life. I would have loved to have seen more behind the scenes, especially on what it took to get an entire squadron of Corsairs back in the air after several decades in mothballs.
Devotion delivers another stunning performance from Jonathan Majors – the man’s star is certainly on the rise. This 4K UHD representation of the film brings the amazing real-life story of Ensign Jesse Brown. It’s very much worth a watch, even if it can be a tough pill to swallow at times.
Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.
Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.
Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
Devotion’s 4K UHD release is an absolute masterclass in audio visual presentation, delivering a heart-wrenching real-life story about a war that too many people know nothing about. While I wish there were a few more extras to round things out, what’s on offer will test every aspect of your home theater to its limits.