The Devil All The Time Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and a half stars)
Star Cast: Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgård, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanlen, Harry Melling
Director: Antonio Campos
What’s Good: The entire cast perform like this is the final day of their acting class they’ve been taking for years, and they all want to present their best to their teacher, it builds an air around you which holds you back till the very end and also for a considerable time after it.
What’s Bad: The female characters get a very ordinary treatment, and that’s hard to swallow that seeing all the pluses of the film.
Loo Break: It’s around 140 minutes long and have ‘a lot’ to offer, and knowing no one’s this watching in a cinema hall many will take a breather in between because of how gruellingly good this is.
Watch or Not?: A big yes for those who carry the heart to bear a dark film amid all the chaos around.
The story starts in 1957 with Donald Ray Pollock (author of the book of the same name from which the film is adapted) narrating how people from West Virginia and Ohio somehow end up being connected each other due to ‘dumb luck’ and by ‘god’s grace’. All revolves around the life-happenings of three essential characters – Arvin Russell (Tom Holland), Carl Henderson (Jason Clarke) and Reverend Preston Teagardin (Robert Pattinson).
What starts with Arvin’s father making him learn the retaliation law of ‘an eye for an eye’, ends f*cking up almost every character in the film. While ‘Spidey’ Tom’s Arvin is going all like ‘I am vengeance’ on ‘Batman’ Pattinson’s Reverend, Carl has a sinful sub-plot of his own connecting everyone. While every character is shown they’re really close to the god, they actually are closer to the devil and hence the title. Now, I don’t want to give anything about the story, and that’s why all the other BS in this section of the review. Watch it without knowing what it’s about, and it’ll leave a better impact.
The Devil All The Time Movie Review: Script Analysis
Only 37-year-old Antonio Campos brings in a lot of depth to the script of the film along with Paulo Campos. The script plays around the basic idea of its characters finding a thin line between ‘faith and folly’, and most of them choose to be fooled. The death/hour count is too high for the film, and all of them are smartly connected. Every death happens due to something unintentional done by some other character before it. All of this sticks with you for much longer after the end-credits roll. It’s like one those Mindhunter episodes. Or, for the lack of a better analogy, it’s like hunting your mind in ‘no country for old men’.
Lol Crawley’s camerawork is definitely not something you’ll laugh out loud at (sorry, had to!). He optimally uses the country set up to an excellent extent resulting in solid production value for the film. The idea of ‘you are not your parents’ is explored in a very haunting way. Sofía Subercaseaux’s editing works as the slow poison, it’ll suck you gradually in the start, but once you’re in, you’ll come out with a lot to think about.
One of the fewer complaints I have with the film is, why they don’t announce/declare in the beginning that it’s narrated by the book’s author Donald Ray Pollock? It would’ve created such a HUGE impact for the readers because Donald’s narration holds a different character in the film. Depending on how good you’re with imagination, it makes you sit under a lonely big oak tree amid the desert and listen to Donald’s narration as an audiobook around the happenings of the film. He deserved proper credits in the beginning.
The Devil All The Time Movie Review: Star Performance
The three central characters of the film Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson and Bill Skarsgård aren’t Americans, but it’s commendable how well do they fit in this entire US country setup. Tom impresses with his debut scene in which he’s doing nothing but sitting on a table cutting his birthday cake. But the way he maintains his body language hints at how amazing he’s going to be ahead in the film. Spidey who? Tom transforms himself completely to be Arvin, from his physical traits to the way he speaks.
As far as the voice goes, OH MY GOD what Robert Pattinson has done with is as haunting as the undertone of this film. With films/shows like Lighthouse, The King, Tenet and the upcoming Batman, I think he should bill the makers separately for that orgasmic-ASMR voice of his. He makes you loathe him for the man he is but also impresses you with his skills as a flawless actor. His character is smartly described as the one who “could never win a fistfight, but he’d read the book of revelation in his sleep.”
I don’t know if this is weird, but I guess makers chose Bill Skarsgård as Willard because he has nailed the role of Pennywise in IT franchise. He gives you the horrific vibes, though without makeup this time around. Jason Clarke does what he’s best at, f*ck around the script like a boss. He’s best at what he’s given to do. Sebastian Stan and Harry Melling deserved better.
My only major complaint from the film will be its weak female characters. They all are just a small part in this demonic world created by some sh*thead men around them. Apart from Riley Keough’s Sandy, none of the other female characters affects the story in a significant way. Haley Bennett and Eliza Scanlen portray their part with utmost honesty, but that’s not enough to disguise their frail character sketching.
The Devil All The Time Movie Review: Direction, Music
Antonio Campos manages tackles a very sensitive subject of showcasing certain fringe elements of the religion as they indeed are. Has he crossed any line in showing disrespect to the religion? I don’t possess enough knowledge to comment on that, but I’d love to know from those who read this if they think otherwise. Overall, from maintaining a specific tone to infusing many exciting twists, he brings the book to life on screen.
MUSIC! I read a few reviews before penning mine and am immensely disappointed about why many haven’t talked much about the vintage songs in the film? From The Roberta Martin Singers’ Old Ship Of Zion to Jimmy Rodgers’ Honeycomb and Sonny James’ Young Love, Antonio has masterfully tackled anarchism with the usage of these classics. Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans’ score also blends in well with the theme and never interrupts with the proceedings.
The Devil All The Time Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, this Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson film is like ‘watching’ a book. The narration mixed with the tone, direction and sudden smartly-infused twists makes this an intriguing watch by the end. You’ll probably come in for Tom Holland but stay for Robert Pattinson.
Three and a half stars!
The Devil All The Time Trailer
The Devil All The Time releases on 16th September 2020.
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