The Devil all the Time (2020) Review

This film is intense and pretty dark and Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson do excellently playing against form.  Great to see them both doing something different.

Certificate: 18

Director: Antonio Campos

Screenwriter: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård

Genre: Crime, Drama

Runtime: 138 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer.There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right. – From IMDB

This film is put together like patchwork.  At the beginning we are jumping around a lot.  Getting snippets of everyone’s stories and getting to know a little backstory, or in some places, a lot of backstory.  And there is very little payoff until the end when Ervin brings all of these stories together as the unifying link between them all.  My main complaint is that this film takes a long, long time to bring all these stories together.  I understand that we have to get to know all of our characters, this is a very character driven film, but I don’t think it needed to be quite this long.  It’s length doesn’ not detract however from how beautifully this film is shot and how oddly engrossing it’s non linear story telling is.

This film has an absurdly talented cast, so it was going to be pretty tough to find a bad performance among them, but it is both Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson, playing against their good boy archetypes that are the real standouts here.  It is always a shame when actors start to get type cast, and Tom Holland, with his ridiculously adorable face has a habit of being cast as the cheeky hero.  And while he isn’t exactly the bad guy here, his character goes through some shit, and makes some bad decisions, and it is great to really see him stretch his acting muscles and do something different.  Robert Pattinson disappeared for a while, focussing on smaller indie projects after the whole ‘Twilight’ debacle, and until recently I too was a member of the ‘I hate RPattz’ crew.  But since he has started making a return to more mainstream cinema, he has done some really great work, and I can’t wait to see what he has to offer.

This film will not be for everyone.  It is dark and depressing and incredibly emotional.  There is a lot of swearing and violence by most of the characters living in this god-fearing community and there are some really heavy topics discussed.  So, if you aren’t good with topics like suicide, sexual abuse, grief, paedophilia, then I suggest you exercise caution here.

If this sounds like it could be up your street then ‘The Devil All The Time’ is streaming now on Netflix,

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