Dedication Review: A Real Life Action Movie Takes Top Gun: Maverick

At first, it seemed extremely unlucky that conscientious being released in the shadow of Top Gun: Maverickcompletely dominate the box office in 2022. conscientious is another movie about elite naval pilots, featuring training scenes, lots of realistic effects, and a snowy mountaintop rescue. It even stars Glen Powell, who plays MaverickHangman’s evil trump card. So it’s easy to imagine the cinematic story of real-life pilot Jesse Brown (Kang, the MCU’s Jonathan Majors) is overshadowed by the sublime nostalgia surrounding Tom Cruise’s return to one of his most famous roles, especially when conscientiousKorean War-era hardware isn’t as high-octane as the jet in this year’s biggest hit.

On the other hand, Top Gun: Maverick has reached such a rare degree of success that it is able to create a lust for the same material, rather than make another fighter pilot look pale in comparison. If you call conscientious an unofficial one Top Guns the prequel seems so downbeat, try this: In some ways, it’s a better and more moving experience than Cruise’s calculated victory lap.

conscientious took place in 1950, at the start of the Korean War — sometimes called the “forgotten” war because it did not receive much attention compared to World War II or the later conflict in Vietnam. conscientious pilots Tom Hudner (Powell) and Jesse Brown (Majors) are members of the Silent Generation, more spiritually than technically: Born at the end of the Greatest Generation that fought in World War II, both entered the battlefield just as that war was ending. They were eager to serve, but both understood the gravity of the task they took on.

Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell), in Navy aviator uniforms, walk towards the camera with their planes in the background on the deck of an aircraft carrier with the sea visible to the side. out in Devotion

Photo: Eli Adé/CTMG

This is especially true of Jesse, the first black pilot to complete a US Navy training program. His wife, Daisy (Christina Jackson, plays a woman in this story who could also be named an Anxiety Supporter), waits at home with their toddler. Assigned to work with Tom, Jesse is initially protected; Some of the film’s best moments come during a pause when Jesse is clearly deciding what and how much to say to his co-workers. He’s too proud of his submissiveness, but too controlling for physical confrontations, and the film nuances acknowledging how Tom’s outspoken decency isn’t necessarily for him. complex understanding of ongoing racial dynamics. His efforts to help his new winger have not always been welcomed. His character arc is about him realizing that he won’t, in fact, serve as Jesse’s designated white savior.

Nothing particularly seismic or unpredictable happens to most conscientious. Tom and Jesse grow closer, although they are inseparable. Their squadron trained, then moved away as the Korean conflict escalated. The only other character who makes much of an impression is the squad’s commanding officer, Dick Cevoli (Thomas Sadoski), who at one point offers to speak frankly with Tom about the value of a lifetime of “appearing” rather than a life. flashy heroism.

However, the film’s combination of straightforwardness and relative lightness, courtesy of director J.D. Dillard (sleigh), accumulates a quiet power. Not everyone grew up idolizing Tom Cruise’s smug hot Maverick, and this is a navy pilot movie that doesn’t need too much speed. Accordingly, the aerial combat scene is not as thrilling as the similar material in Maverick. But it sounds convincing, and there’s something satisfying about the way it emphasizes precision over power. Throughout the film, Dillard and Majors find graceful musical notes, such as the moment when Dillard’s camera is fixed on the nose of a landing plane as Jesse takes direction, or the dramatic look at ritual. Jesse’s take-off. He stared at himself in the mirror, recounting every ugly dismissal that had ever happened to him, and Dillard shot the scene so the Major faced the camera directly, while at the same time torturing and training himself. .

Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) stands on deck in a Navy fighter pilot outfit and inflatable life jacket in Devotion

Photo: Eli Adé/CTMG

It’s far more powerful than the film’s occasional attempts to bring some of the contemporary vernacular into the proceedings, the most notable of which is the scene in which a Black soldier approaches Jesse on behalf of the court. to a carrier team and said to him, “We see you. At least the movie doesn’t tell Tom to check his privileges. This tool works best when the movie doesn’t rephrase the conflicts in more modern terms.

conscientious never looked like a textbook – history or sociology – because Dillard displayed such an impressive use of the material. Aided by cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, he gives the film a quiet, somber visual tone that minimizes the rah-rah elements inherent in a film depicting military conflict off-set scene. This film doesn’t portray war in a particularly edgy way, but it aptly portrays sacrifice – the last thing missing from his movie-star restoration. Top Gun: Maverick. Comparing the two films isn’t particularly fair, but it’s still worth noting that this smaller production is doing more for less.

conscientious premieres in theaters on November 23.

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