The Devil All The Time

The Devil All The Time
Image Source: Google

Ratings: 3/5

Duration: 02 Hr 18 Mins 

Director: Antonio Campos

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Release Date: 16th September 2020 (USA)

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Star Cast: Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Haley Bennett, Keough, Harry Melling, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen, Jason Clarke, Douglas Hodge, Drew Starkey, Given Sharp, Lucy Faust, Abby Glover, Pokey LaFarge, Kristin Griffith, Eric Mendenhall, Adam Fristoe, David Maldonado, Morganna Bridgers, Cade Tropeano, Michael Banks Repeta, Mark Jeffrey Miller, Michael H. Cole, Karson Kern, Michael Harding, Donald Ray Pollock, Gregory Kelly, Cory Scott Allen, Zack Shires, David Atkinson, Scott Rapp, Jason Collett, Caleb J. Thaggard, James H Keating, Tim Huddleston, Jason Charles Hill, Emma Coulter, Kelly Lind, Phillip DeVona, Ivan Hoey Jr., Madelyn Wall, Joey Traywick, Ever Eloise Landrum, Kevin Waterman, Jorge Castro-Salinas, Kacey Hayes, Todd Barnett, Sarah Hamff, Michael Corin, Ethan Melisano, Jeff McKinney, Daniel James Vaughn, Teddy Cole, Jeremy Brink, Justin Matthew Smith, Ryan Anthony Williams, Andrew Young, Kyle Sawyer, Cort Chandler, Shannon Frye, Ronnie Hiebert Jr., Lawrence Hinkle, Ben Bailey, Rebecca Douglas, Myles Phillips, Anthony Eads, Bradley Pitman, Nathan Harris, Jay Johnson, Anthony Davis, Matt Powell

Plot: ‘The Devil All the Time’ is set in the timeline between World War II and the Vietnam war in Knockemstiff, Ohio and West Virginia. It is based on the novel by Donald Ray Pollock, of the same name.

The story is split into three narratives and tells the stories of characters, including Williard Russell (Robert Pattinson), a veteran who turns to prayers to save his dying wife with cancer, a couple - Carl and Sandy Henderson (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), who photographs and kills hitchhikers, and a spider eating preacher (Sebastian Stan) who is convinced that he can bring the dead back.

The story jumps from one narrative to another, and the characters’ lives all intersect, all of which takes place in slightly different time periods and timeframes. It spans across several decades of family drama and loss.

The movie shows how all these characters connect around Arvin Russell (Tom Holland), an orphaned boy, and how he fights the evil forces to protect those he loves. It is the three narratives that converge by the end of the story that forms a conclusion, and ties each of the narrative threads together.

Review: The American psychological thriller film ‘The Devil All the Time’ is directed and co-written by Antonio Campos and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Randall Poster. Antonio Campos was known for his previous film Christine - the true story of Christine Chubbuck, a depressed and frustrated reporter who committed suicide on live television and this makes it clear that he is inclined to the darker corners of humanity.

The film is an interesting mix of religious trauma, backwoods politics, and serial killers - everything from PTSD and gaslighting to suicide, religious opportunism, and necrophilia. As none of those sound like particularly ‘sunny day’ topics by themselves, adding them all together certainly brings a taxing amount of bleakness to the screen. 

The first half of the film lays out in a tidy episodic fashion. But the film struggles somewhat to engage on the characters level, despite an arresting tone, and several memorable individual scenes. Perhaps Antonio Campos is too closely wedded to Donald Ray Pollock’s book. 

When it comes to performances, Robert Pattinson is clearly giving one of the striking yet weirdest performances of his career. The actor doesn’t show up until very late in the film, and it is almost as if he decided to make up for the lost time by devouring every scene he is in. However, the performance might be a bit too much for some, but it fits the tone of the film perfectly.

Whereas, Tom Holland too doesn’t show up until later in the narrative, but sadly, fails to impress as much. Though he is a good actor, he just isn’t right for this role. As he seems too fresh, too clean to play such a haunted, violent character.

Rounding out the supporting cast - Eliza Scanlen, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska, Harry Melling and Douglas Hodge, all of them are superbly talented and raises the bar. Each of them have showcased their depth as actors.

Apart from the strong performances, credit goes to the excellent period soundtrack chosen by music supervisors Randall Poster and Meghan Currier. They help the Devil root itself in the real but fictional-sounding hamlets of Knockemstiff, Ohio and West Virginia. Additionally, cinematographer Lol Crawley has created a visual feast as well that transports us into the story through sight and sound. In short, the story would not have worked without its brilliant portrayal by the cast, as well as the locations.

Overall, 'The Devil All The Time' makes for a harrowing yet surprisingly muted watching experience on Netflix.