The Devil All the Time – Review

Netflix’s latest big dramatic film, The Devil all the Time, is based on a novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock(also the narrator) and is directed by Antonio Campos and stars Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Haley Bennet, Bill Skarsgård, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke and Riley Keough. I’m going to try and give you as much as I can here without dropping too many spoilers but there will be some minor ones. 

The Devil All the Time is the story of Arvin, a young man from a small town in Knockemstiff, Ohio who has experienced plenty of heartache in his young life. The story spans the years between WWII and Vietnam. During this time we’ll see how multiple people  from different backgrounds will inevitably find their lives intertwined in a variety of ways.. always with  catastrophic results.

Alexander Skarsgard is in the role of Willard, a war time veteran who had bear witness to atrocities during his time overseas finds himself less enchanted with god but after falling madly in love with a waitress, Charlotte (Haley Bennet) finds that he’s suddenly prepared to bring god back into his life and builds himself a space for prayer behind the house.  His time on screen is quite fantastic and very effective in setting the tone of the movie as well as setting young Arvin up for who he becomes in the future. When we first meet Arvin, he’s about 9yrs old and his father sees that he’s been bullied yet again, and his father shows/tells him how you should always defend the just and himself. Arvin bears witness to a violent encounter his father has with a couple men who treated him and his family very poorly and this plants the seed and after he experiences some truly horrendous events, we’ll see what kind of a man he’ll become. 

I’m going to leave it there as far as story goes. I feel like even that may be too much but I need to spend some time talking about other things and the biggest and most important aspect of this movie, especially with such a big heavy hitting cast of actors. How are they?

In a word – Outstanding but the 2 real stand outs(rightfully so) are Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson. Everyone in the movie put in wonderful performances but Robert and Tom put in an absolute masterclass in acting. 

Tom taking on a role like this, in my opinion, was the absolutely perfect move for his career. Seeing him play Arvin is a startling transformation compared to what most know him from as the fun loving, innocent Peter Parker/Spider-Man. His sadness and pent up anger shows in his eyes and actions. I’m not even joking when I say that I think Holland should be on the lips of anyone who votes during awards season. 

Pattinson, who I must admit I’ve not been much of a fan of in the past is really impressing me with his performances. His role as the young superstar pastor Reverend Teagardin is chilling. He is quite literally corrupt to the core and he uses his power and influence as a man of god to get away with terrible deeds using it as a shield to explain how and why he can get away with what he does. He’s something of a chameleon who comes off as a great man but quickly becomes cold and callous and is just downright a disgusting person. 

The Devil All the Time is one of those gritty slow burn movies that deliver an incredibly satisfying payoff. Not only was the movie well incredibly well acted but it’s beautifully shot and the soundtrack was perfect, the cast is perfect but the movie isn’t necessarily perfect despite how much I enjoyed it. Especially that final payoff that ties it all together. Wow what a great story. As soon as I finished the movie, i immediately ordered the book so I can compare the differences. What I found is that I didn’t have enough time with the characters as I would have liked and I’m sure they had to cut plenty out. This story, as I understand it is told in parts and I feel like thought they pretty well hit that feel, there could have been more.  Netflix makes great series’ and this movie should have been a limited mini series to give us more of these characters. I feel like they opted for a movie over series in an effort to gain those coveted gold statues. Still it’s a great movie and I strongly recommend you check this one out. 

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